Category Archives: ethics

Who is an Anti-vaxxer?

Governments in certain countries, with the support of Big Pharma and the media, are mandating that citizens must vaccinate or be denied the right to enjoy public amenities in society, such as restaurants, cinemas, night clubs, museums, sporting events, etc. Those who wish to travel may be barred by not having documentation of being fully vaccinated. Probably worst of all, people are being fired from their jobs for refusing vaccination. These people who are fearful of the vaccines, in particular the mRNA vaccine, are being denigrated by calling them anti-vaxxers.

First, is the mRNA vaccine even a vaccine? The World Health Organization (WHO) says,

Vaccines train your immune system to create antibodies, just as it does when it’s exposed to a disease. However, because vaccines contain only killed or weakened forms of germs like viruses or bacteria, they do not cause the disease or put you at risk of its complications.

The mRNA vaccines do not contain “only killed or weakened forms of germs like viruses or bacteria.” Even worse, reports of adverse reactions to the mRNA purported vaccines are on the increase, even causing death. So if the mRNA “vaccine” is not by definition a vaccine, then people opposed to being injected with the experimental mRNA “vaccine” can not truthfully be labeled anti-vaxxers.

Second, even if mRNA “vaccines” were accepted to be vaccines, is it still proper to call vaccine skeptics anti-vaxxers? Is the ad hominem truthful? Assuredly many, if not most, of the people opposed to being jabbed with the mRNA “vaccines” and other experimental vaccines have been willingly vaccinated previously to protect against other infections, among them whooping cough, chicken pox, measles, smallpox, rubella, tetanus, mumps, and perhaps others. Having received so many vaccinations, and having agreed to their children being vaccinated, then how accurate is it to demean these people as anti-vaxxers?

Third, are the vaccine skeptics opposed to others who of their own volition receive vaccines? Vaccine skeptics take action to protect their bodily sovereignty; they do not force others to receive or refuse vaccination. So they are not anti-vaxxers.

Fourth, the vaccines are experimental. On 29 September, Globaldata Healthdcare reported, “Currently, there are over 2,000 COVID-19 clinical trials recruiting patients, with 16% being for vaccines and 84% for therapeutics.” One cannot ethically be mandated to take part in an experiment. Informed consent is required.

Are some people opposed to being vaccinated by any vaccine for COVID-19? Sure, some are. Others are just opposed to having an experimental mRNA “vaccine” injected into their body. They have heard that these mRNA “vaccines” are not genuine vaccines; many would, however, accept a traditional vaccine that has been demonstrated experimentally to be safe and effective. These vaccines tend to be most prominent in China, and their usage in the West would cut into the mega-bucks that western pharmaceutical companies are currently reaping. Yet China has declared its COVID-19 vaccines a global public good and has donated its vaccines to various developing countries.

There are many reasons to doubt the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines. Many vaccine skeptics are aware of several physicians and scientists cautioning against taking the vaccines.

Dr Gérard Delépine, an oncologist, orthopedic surgeon, and statistician at the Raymond Poincaré Hospital in Paris analyzed the pre- and post-vaccine trends for 14 countries and found overwhelming evidence that COVID-19 vaccines are correlated with new infections and mortality. In other words, the vaccines appear to be killing people who are getting vaccinated, sadly ironic since people became vaccinated so they wouldn’t suffer or die.

There are reports of vaccinations being associated with blood clots causing death, Bells palsy, central nervous system disorders, eye disorders, menstrual irregularities, etc. There are the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) reports of tens of thousands having died after receiving being vaccinated.

Some people think the dangers of COVID-19 are overhyped. For example, when examining the data for winter-burden all-cause mortality prior to and since the appearance of COVID-19, there has been no significant difference in deaths from previous years.

People are leery of the information surrounding vaccinations. Is there a cover up? For instance, reporting deaths or injury to VAERS after vaccination can get you fired. Corporate/state media have been criticized for censoring medical experts who question the vaccine safety, saying “the COVID jabs are causing the proliferation of toxic spike proteins throughout the vascular systems of injection recipients.”

Given all this, is it any wonder that some people are fearful of the COVID-19 vaccines? And the fear is not limited to the mRNA “vaccines” because vaccine trials are still ongoing, although emergency use authorization had sped up the roll out of vaccines. The vector vaccine Oxford-AstraZeneca usage was stopped in several countries, especially in Europe; in Canada the National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommended provinces stop using AstraZeneca. The vector vaccine Janssen/Johnson & Johnson also received emergency use authorization and it has had its problems. In particular, a pause in its use occurred to “investigate whether the vaccine triggers a rare but serious side effect — the development of diffuse blood clots, even though the few individuals who developed the condition had low platelet levels.”

Are the Establishment’s vaccine experts speaking ex cathedra or are they presenting the scientific evidence to support their stance? Since many of us non-experts are barraged by contradictory information surrounding COVID-19, it is incumbent upon people to do their own research to ascertain the verisimilitude of the reports. Apply open-minded skepticism. Scrutinize the credentials and expertise of the person(s) reporting, but more so the factually accuracy of their pronouncements along with the morality and logic applied thereto. Are the reports in peer-review science journals or tabloid newspapers? More important than the source, however, is the actual information. Ask is the evidence solid, are the facts accurate, is the logic coherent, and are the conclusions proffered credible? And always ask cui bono? Should anyone be profiting exorbitantly from the ill health of other people?

The venerable professor Noam Chomsky spurns the pejorative use of the term anti. Chomsky promotes vaccination, but doesn’t call people resistant to vaccination anti-vaxxers. Nonetheless, he does depict them as people who are “willing to be a danger to the community.”

Another means of demeaning a group is to accuse them of being deniers.

There is a contingent of people who are skeptical that Earth is succumbing to global warming. They are disparaged as climate deniers rather than stating that they are climate skeptics. Some people have provided a serious scientific rationale for their skepticism; others are not so well versed in science but have listened to or read accounts of why people need not fret an imminent and catastrophic climate change.1

And there is the hot-button issue of abortion. Both sides seek to describe themselves as pro-. On the one hand, those who support the woman’s right to choose whether or not to undergo a procedure to terminate the fetus will label themselves as pro-choice (they will steer clear of describing themselves as pro-abortion). The pro-choice people will argue that it is the woman’s body, and she has sovereignty over her body. On the other hand, those who are against terminating a fetus will label themselves as pro-life (they will not describe themselves as anti-abortion). They seek to protect a nascent life form.

If one applies the rationale of the pro-choice crowd, then they should support the right of vaccine skeptics to enjoy dominion over their body and, if the vaccine skeptics so choose, accept their unwillingness to being jabbed.

The vaccine skeptics, however, are in the minority it seems. This is unsurprising given the government, corporate media nexus that pushes for vaccination. Nonetheless, being in the minority is sometimes the best place to be. In the 1960s, the psychologist Stanley Milgram carried out a study into obedience. The subjects were assigned the role of a teacher. They were introduced to a confederate, the learner, who they met outfitted with attached electrodes. During the experiment, the learner would be on the other side of a partition, out of sight of the teacher. The teacher’s job was to give the learner an electric shock each time a mistake was made. The shocks were increased for each mistake, eventually reaching a zone marked danger and finishing in a 450-volt zone marked XXX. An experimenter in a lab coat would prod the teachers to continue administering shocks until the end of the test despite learner hesitancy to shock the obviously distressed learner who was heard moaning, and this prodding continued even after the learner failed to respond. Roughly two-thirds of teachers obeyed the experimenter right through 450 volts. Such is the nature of human obedience — at least, for two-thirds of humans.2

Today, people are not only being encouraged to be vaccinated, but those that resist are being coerced. Nowadays, Milgram’s experiments would encounter difficulty receiving permission from a human research ethics committee; regardless, the audacious and draconian force the Establishment employs against the unvaccinated minority poses a grave ethical scenario.

The state actors say the science supports them, but the data they present is scarce. If the science is that strong, then there is no need to silence doctors, scientists, professors, and intellectuals who have reached different conclusions. Bring the two camps together and present the science, data, and evidence in an open and fair debate that allows people to reach an informed and fact-based conclusion. Otherwise, people who resist vaccination have a reasoned right to their skepticism, and are undeserving of ad hominem directed against them. An information war shouldn’t be mired by invective.

Image credit: Photograph: Jordan Sigler/Alamy

  1. To be clear, this writer has noted a definite uptick in heat waves year after year, an increased incidence of storms, reports of glaciers melting, flooding and such events that point to a global warming trend.
  2. See Stanley Milgram, Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View (New York: Harper & Row, 1974).
The post Who is an Anti-vaxxer? first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Beast of a Nation: Banality of Evil and Peppy Propagandists

 

I like to get down to brass tacks, into the muck, since I have been in on all aspects of academia and journalism, environmental activism, literary arts, and social work. I’m not pulling some trump card here, but in my more than six decades of confronting these amazingly dead-from-the-head-up members of the 80 percent, and those of the 20 percent, I have seen the complete shut down of discourse, critical thinking and shame.

They really do not care about their people. They really do not care about their patients. They really do not care about their troopers. They really do not care about their students. They really do not care about the homeless, the women in Afghanistan, the Blacks Lives, and all the other BIPOC folk. Crocodile tears and thespian performances do not equate to caring for people. This country, and the West in general, is one giant stage of actors and actresses.

It doesn’t matter if it is Kamala Harris, Stephen Miller, Donald Trump, Macron-Johnson-Trudeau, no matter who is in the acting part, they do not care about the homeless, the disabused, the marginalized.

It could be Howard Stern one moment giving nationwide bits of perverted advice, or it could be the head of the teachers’ union, Randi Weingarten, or it could be the head of the CDC, Microsoft, Apple, FDA, CIA, ICE, ATF, FBI, NAACP, ACLU, no matter, but they all have their limits toward basic freedoms and rights. One day a hero, but the next day scum.

I am talking about the mandates, the hard rule of outcasting, caste creation, and new stitched-on scarlet letters (a la digital dashboards). What is going on while the divide and conquer chatter and discord unfolds on corporate media and in the boardrooms of major and minor companies, in schools, universities, state, county, city agencies, and with the feds, while we watch sports, await Broadway opening up, line up for cruise ships, and eat-drink-&-be-merry in La-La Land.

The reality is clear — there are so many ways to disenfranchise the lot of us: Those who want to stop the mandated experimental jabs, the mandates for useless masks, the absurdity of social distancing and quarantines. Those of us who want robust discourse. Those of us who want to look at the evidence. Those of us who want to uncover the subterfuge. There are great pieces of journalism and deep and passionate opinion pieces on all of this — DARPA, WEF, Fauci, gain of function, Event 201, Dark Winter, and Fourth Industrial Revolution. More. However, when you get into the day to day weeds, with our jobs, our workplaces, with those administrators, things are not looking great.

I had the sickly unhealthy luxury of getting in on a huge national web call/Zoom with a major Human Resources management service, talking about what the thousands of companies they represent can do to force employees to go under the knife, err, jab. These people — your bloody neighbors, the soccer moms, the camping dads, the aunts who take the kids to museums, the grandfathers who have backyard gardens — are none other than the complete embodiment of Eichmann. The Eichmann Syndrome.

These are the $400,000 a year professional managerial class (sic) people running the HR departments, looking at the three major airlines (swooning over them) for the jab mandates — everything from weekly testing AND a $200 a month additional premium to health insurance, to allowing for a religious exemption for a vaccine (sic) but with unpaid forced leave. Whirlpool, man, bribing a $1000 for each employee now to go under the jab.

These HR people are looking at distinguishing jabbed from unjabbed, and they are utilizing all those HR tools in their toolboxes, thankful of the monopolies and big corporations for blazing the trail to take away the right to a livelihood, to informed consent, to travel, to basic human interchanges. They are writing the rules now as I write this around those of us who “get Covid and have to leave work,” but they are sly Eichmanns, as they are nuancing of the new normal of FMLA (family and medical leave act) laws, paid time off for recovery or hospitalization around Covid. They want to make it impossible to live on planet earth without subjugating oneself to the jab . . . and I mean, JABS, since booster x has a human biophysical life of three months, so bring on the Covid 18-pack. The bottom line is, today, September 14 will be harkening in a very different world in a month.

The lawyers are working long and hard to force the jab, to force employees to bend and falter, in order to kick out as many miscreants as possible. This is what your large HR groups are talking about as we debate Saudi Arabia, or 9/11, and as we look at the Continuous Wars, and as we look at cops down under pounding grannies’ heads for coming out to protest.

Typical HR booklets: Case Study: Protecting & Defending Intellectual Property; 5 Measures to Battle Construction Site Theft; Cybertheft & Participant Accounts: A Fiduciary Responsibility?; 6 Best Practices for Fraud Prevention; From Seed to Sale On-Demand Webinar Series: COVID-19 and Cannabis Operations. You get the picture: all about protecting the company, the rich folk, the administrators, stockholders, et al.

Yet the partisan pattern persists throughout, with Democratic majorities favoring vaccine passports in nearly every situation (from 53 percent for indoor drinking and dining to 77 percent for international travel) and at least a plurality of Republicans opposing them (from 48 percent for international travel to 65 percent for indoor drinking and dining). Stores are the only venue where more Democrats oppose vaccine passports (40 percent) than favor them (37 percent).

Sensing a political minefield, the Biden administration has so far deflected the issue of vaccine passports, vowing only to provide guidance for nongovernment initiatives in the days ahead.

“The government is not now nor will we be supporting a system that requires Americans to carry a credential,” Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said Tuesday. “There will be no federal vaccinations database and no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential.”

Yet the Yahoo News/YouGov poll suggests the White House could, in theory, play some role in the process. Asked whether “the U.S. government” — as opposed to U.S. businesses — should require “Americans to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination before participating in certain higher risk activities (travel, concerts, sports games, etc.),” more Americans say yes (46 percent) than no (37 percent).

It’s as if people somehow thought the neoliberals, the democrats, the polite ones, the freaks of nanny statism, would somehow just stick to LGBTQA and transgender bathrooms issues (not). It is the tyranny of stupidity, and I have mentioned this in many pieces here and elsewhere, when you deny authority, when you question the paradigms, when you go up against administrators, college presidents, social services nonprofit CEO poverty pimps, well, the price is more than ostracizing and triangulating. It is the social isolation of the castes these people have set out, in their professional managerial class power.

You don’t need to lecture someone like me on the dirty dirt of republicans, at the governor level, on down. They are despicable. Yes, I am with groups who are against mandates, forced medical experiments on people that contain right wing religious freaks, and cops and fire fighters. These — right wing religious zealots, cops/pigs and overpaid firefighters — they are contrary to almost everything I have fought for, and they have been the despicable ones, too.

This is not a provocative image, pre-Covid:

Vaccine Mandate

But it is now. Imagine this image: But, of course, the dude on the right, well, he has zero concept of communism, but alas, these are strange times — leftists fighting the Draconian measures aligning with, well, cops and dudes like that — “the final variant is called communism.” Funny stuff, since the variants are all about capitalism, and the final conclusion to all this is about the point zero zero one percent riding roughshod over us, with the help of their elites and the Eichmanns. Those communist countries like Cuba and China have, well, non-mRNA true vaccines. But, little do they know, these AmeriKKKans.

Vaccine Mandate Protestors

This person below, well, both, are really part and parcel of the fascism that has been unleashed in USA in several iterations, and following US Patriot Act and the forced shoe donning at airports, we as a country are insipidly inane and accepting of all the wrong kinds of authority. Now, with the dementia democrats in office, the blue bloods, we are now forced to fall under their thumbs, and follow the science religion of a very suspect, dead-end route.

Dr. Walensky addresses press conference

HR So, this meeting I snuck into, with HR fantastics swooning over Walmart’s vaccine policies and the “joints for vaccination” schemes, they are the people I have been warning my students and homeless clients and veterans and others about in order to learn from and defeat. This Rochelle is a monster in so many ways, and Fauci is too. We can’t even get one day of a Lancet article by two former FDA heads without Saint Fauci chiming in —

The current evidence on COVID-19 vaccines does not appear to support a need for booster shots in the general public right now, according to an international group of vaccine scientists, including some from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization.

The current evidence on COVID-19 vaccines does not appear to support a need for booster shots in the general public right now, according to an international group of vaccine scientists, including some from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization.

“Current evidence does not, therefore, appear to show a need for boosting in the general population, in which efficacy against severe disease remains high,” the scientists write in a new opinion piece, published Monday in the medical journal The Lancet.

The authors of the paper include two senior FDA vaccine leaders, Dr. Philip Krause and Marion Gruber, who will be stepping down in October and November, the FDA announced late last month. No further details were released about their retirements, although they sparked questions about whether the departures would affect the agency’s work.

United Airlines has mandated that all U.S. employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 or face termination. Those granted exemptions will be put on unpaid leave.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Two senior leaders in the US Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine review office are stepping down, even as the agency works toward high-profile decisions around Covid-19 vaccine approvals, authorizations for younger children and booster shots.

But Fauci is now attacking these two who wrote in the Lancet their concerns, and they are not anti-vaccination folk. Speaking of the Lancet: 

A shocking admission by the editor of the world’s most respected medical journal, The Lancet, is saying that medical research is UNRELIABLE AT BEST IF NOT COMPLETELY BOGUS! Lancet editor, Richard Horton “… states bluntly that major pharmaceutical companies falsify or manipulate tests on the health, safety and effectiveness of their various drugs by taking samples too small to be statistically meaningful or hiring test labs or scientists where the lab or scientist has blatant conflicts of interest such as pleasing the drug company to get further grants.”

 

This statement ties in perfectly with the article we have had on our website and been recommending for almost five years now from the World’s Leading Expert on Medical Research, Dr. John Ioanidis from Greece. Dr. Ioannidis told the Atlantic Monthly in an article titled “Lies, Damn Lies, and Medical Science” that 90% of medical research is tainted if not outright bogus due to influence from the industry. (source)

But the HR consultants who charge millions for their services (sic) to companies on what to do with employees, with all the vagaries of those darned dirty and messy real people, now under the Covid Stain of Fascism, they all got their jabs because they are compliant, and they make individually amazing amounts of money for their, well, services. These are the dream hoarders, the true believers in taking as many rights away from people vis-à-vis workplace rules, regulations, laws, steps, credos, trainings, and more, to the point of creating entire legions of, well, the untouchables, the unhireables, terminated for noncompliance. These are mean folk, Hillary and Obama and Biden loving folk:

Obama, the dance man, 60th b-day party, during Covid Maskless Madness?

Performers At Barak Obama's 60th Birthday Share Photos Before Being Told To Delete Them
No mask for AOC, the capitalist entertainer, but all the servants? You betcha!
Notice these freaks, while the press crew, well, has to mask up.

This is it for the great masses, as the screws get screwed down tighter and harder each minute. The news is vapid, and the depth of coverage on almost anything is boiler plate or pre-ordained by the commercial media honchos. And this is the final nail in the coffin for teachers,

To all of my American Federation of Teachers (AFT) union brothers and sisters across America I call upon you RIGHT NOW to immediately LEAVE THE AFT in protest as a moral obligation.

Randi Weingarten HAS FIRED ALL UNVACCINATED STAFF IN ALL AFT FACILITIES ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

So that’s not teachers, that’s secretaries, accountants, lawyers, custodians, doormen, etc…

I personally can and will NEVER return to the AFT as long as Randi is president and as long as this segregationist policy is in place.

The issue of AFT membership is no longer about what AFT does and doesn’t do FOR US as educators, it is now much bigger than that. IF you continue to pay dues to the AFT you are financially supporting a blatantly discriminatory and corrupt multi-million dollar organization.

Please stop supporting them right now. Vote with your money AND LEAVE THE AFT NOW! This is bigger than whether or not YOU still have a PCR testing option at your job or not. This is about choosing your side — do you stand with rank-&-file workers who choose to make their own medical decisions? OR do you stand with the biosecurity state?

Giving even one DIME to the AFT is supporting the biosecurity state. End that support right now!

Please spread this far and wide to all AFT members. We will post at our webaite very soon.

All the best;

www.TeachersForChoice.org

Viewpoint: AFT's Refusal to Challenge Democratic Establishment Leaves Every Teacher Behind | Labor Notes
Biden and Randi — Team USA.
Now She Tells Us | Jay P. Greene's Blog

I don’t know what else to say, since so much of what is behind the biosecurity state, the mandates, all of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is tied to high tech and surveillance capitalism, much of which comes from the bowels of military, Israel, the chosen few.

In the final act of the 2011 film “Contagion,” people wore bar-coded wristbands to prove they had been inoculated against the deadly, pandemic virus. But in 2021, of course, the vaccinated will be able to use a blockchain-powered smartphone app, according to IBM and Salesforce.

The two tech giants are partnering up to help businesses and public spaces smoothly reopen as newly authorized COVID-19 vaccines become more available by integrating IBM’s Digital Health Pass with Salesforce’s web-based employee management platform.

“At the start of the pandemic, many organizations deployed simple COVID-19 screenings, such as self-reported health surveys, to support re-entry to workplaces and other institutions,” said Paul Roma, general manager of IBM Watson Health.

And this is not about health safety, about a shot passport. This is about moving everything into those HR digital libraries, containing background checks, drug screenings, mortgage records, all addresses lived at, court records, education records, criminal records, defaults on loans, credit reports, and, no, not too far fetched, an entire digital library of things written-snapped-photographer-tweeted-downloaded on the World Wide Web. And yet, again, just one little hour listening to the HR wonks talk about all the great things companies can do to coerce, cajole, conspire, contain, and co-opt their employees into doing anything: first the jab, and next some cool nanoparticle atomized air product, to calm the masses, to get more productivity, to erase emotions, what have you.

The post Beast of a Nation: Banality of Evil and Peppy Propagandists first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Trudeau Speaks to a Lack of Judgment

The Montreal Canadiens hockey team drafted a player fined for a sex-related offence. The 17-year-old player, Logan Mailloux, surreptitiously took photos of a consensual sex act and showed them to his teammates — this without the consent of the other person.

The draft selection was a major PR gaffe on the part of the team, especially since the player, now 18-years old, asked not to be drafted so that he could work on bettering himself as a person. The opprobrium became so heated that, finally, the owner of the team, Geoff Molson, felt compelled to write a letter that disavowed Mailloux’s actions and avowed that such actions do not reflect the team’s values.

Even Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau decided to voice his displeasure with the team’s draft selection:

As a lifelong Habs fan, I have to say I am deeply disappointed by the decision. I think it was a lack of judgment by the Canadiens organization. I think they have a lot of explaining to do, to Montrealers and to fans from right across the country.

There are few among us who are perfect and have not shown, at one time or another, a lack of judgement. Trudeau, the son of a former long-time prime minister in Canada, has a record that speaks to his own struggles with “a lack of judgment.”

  • In his younger days Trudeau would occasionally appear in blackface/brownface. Youthful indiscretion?
  • Maclean’s magazine carried a piece on Trudeau’s “bad judgment.” When Trudeau accepted the billionaire Aga Khan’s hospitality on his private island, this raised many red flags. It was an obvious conflict-of-interest, and Canada’s ethics commissioner ruled that Trudeau was guilty of a breach of ethics. Hopefully, the PM would learn from this “bad judgement.”
  • Aga Khan was strike one. Then came strike two. The ethics commissioner Marcel Dion ruled that Trudeau had again violated ethics when he interposed himself into criminal proceedings against the disgraced company SNC-Lavalin, this to the chagrin of his justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould who felt the pressure of the party machinery being applied to her. Wilson-Raybould, Canada’s first Indigenous justice minister, would find herself forced out of the Liberal Party, along with a supportive party colleague, Jane Philpott. In the next election, the electorate pronounced judgement by returning Wilson-Raybould to parliament — this time as an independent. Trudeau and the Liberal Party fell from a majority to a minority government.
  • Back on 8 December 2015, Trudeau made a pledge to First Nation leaders “that the constitutionally guaranteed rights of First Nations in Canada are … a sacred obligation.” So what was Trudeau thinking when he sent in the RCMP, ill-famed for such moral transgressions as carrying out the abduction of Indigenous children from their families, to deal with First Nations? When the RCMP invaded the unceded territory of the Wet’suwet’en they came with helicopters, snipers, police dogs, and tactical teams even though the Wet’suwet’en made it clear that they were unarmed and peaceful. How sacred was that?
  • But Canada is about the rule of law, isn’t it? At least, so claims Trudeau. Based upon this stipulation and acting on an extradition request from the United States, Canada intercepted and apprehended Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese telecom giant Huawei, while in transit at Vancouver International airport. Meng is alleged to have misled HSBC bank about Huawei’s relationship with another company, putting the bank at risk of violating US sanctions against Iran. Recently, Meng’s legal team had documents released from HSBC through a court agreement in Hong Kong that indicate no misleading had occurred. However, the BC Supreme Court judge rejected the documents as insufficient. Meng has been awaiting a judicial determination since 1 December 2018. Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, two Canadians detained in China, have been awaiting a judicial determination since 10 December 2018.

Canada has long been pressured to follow US foreign policy with little leeway. Justin Trudeau’s father, Pierre Trudeau, likened Canada’s situation to a mouse sleeping next to an elephant. For instance, Canada’s international trade is so highly dominated by ties to the US that Canada can be strong-armed to even stir up confrontation with its second largest trading partner, China.

  • And, as was revealed the other day, Trudeau’s government has approved the sale of $74 million of explosives to Saudi Arabia. This is the Saudi government whose agents assassinated journalist Jamal Khashoggi and chopped up his body to dispose of it. This is the same government which carries out public beheadings, public floggings, and is committing genocide in Yemen.

What is Lacking?

A teenager, lacking judgement and rectitude, committed a despicable act and was punished for it. It is hoped that he can fully atone for the transgression and grow past it.

Trudeau, however, is an adult who is the leader of a country. Unfortunately, his lack of judgment appears almost inconsequential to the lack of morality.

The post Trudeau Speaks to a Lack of Judgment first appeared on Dissident Voice.

What the Science Says about COVID-19

Very insightful words from Ottawa-based physicist and interdisciplinary scientist, Denis Rancourt, a former tenured professor of physics at U of Ottawa (20+ years) and currently a researcher with the Ontario Civil Liberties Association. He has written over 100 papers in leading scientific journals.

Denis speaks about a variety of issues pertaining to COVID-19, the faulty science around all things COVID-19, Ontario’s incompetent chief medical officers, the brutality of lockdowns—especially on the disadvantaged of society, and more.

  • See also: “Do Masks and Respirators Prevent Viral Respiratory Illnesses? Interview with Professor Denis Rancourt.”
  • The post What the Science Says about COVID-19 first appeared on Dissident Voice.

    Taking a Trip Through the Magical Mania Tour

    Current State of Modern Biotechnological-Based Aeromonas hydrophila Vaccines for Aquaculture: A Systematic Review

    Oh, the time I have, putting in application after application, for a job. A job, that’s a double-edged word. What is that job without a jab. Now, one year-plus, perfectly accepted that the restaurant or retail outlet or any manner of “job” can require you to submit to the jab. Make that jabs. This is the continuing criminality of a rigged system.

    Unfortunately, the entire globe has sucked that mRNA potion. That mRNA cleanser was only possible after how many years? The atomic bomb, splitting of the atom, orbital flight. It hasn’t been long, civilization wise, but so long evolution wise, since that lovely scientific lovely was born. Make no bones about it — science was bad before that, but the atomic era heralded in the complete prostration to the “experts,” or to the “MD,” or “engineer.” With all that education, all those cohorts, the amazing jet-jetting of these virologists and hard rock geologists, the entire crew, popping off into orbit, space station and undersea world station, it doesn’t matter.

    The PhD’s and post docs (along with drop-outs like Gates) have it.

    GLOFISH

    Regulatory agencies not keeping pace

    Scientists and companies keep tweaking our plants and animals and even our pets but our regulatory agencies are not keeping pace. We don’t have adequate rules about how to release genetically engineered plants and animals into the environment. Businesses still introduce new plants, seeds and animals without making adequate information available to the public about what they are or where they are. And no single federal agency has responsibility for assuring the safety of genetically engineered plants and animals.

    The glowing fish are shedding some light on an important problem. We don’t have sufficient oversight in place to make sure that the new animals and plants that result from genetic engineering are really safe for us and the environment. We need Congress to assign clear responsibility for genetically engineered plants and animals to one federal agency. And that agency needs to make sure that the rules for release and standards of safety glow brightly for both business and the public.

    Arthur Caplan is director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania.

    Please note that this Caplan is a capitalist, one of those dangerous scientists, all-knowing types, and this site, is anything but ethics and pushback. This place pushes mandatory vaccine passports, pushes these jabs for children, pushes the idea that youth 15 or older do not need parental consent to get jabbed.

    These are the masters, the controllers — another site of madness dressed up as science and open-discourse —

    by Brian M Cummings M.D. and John J. Paris S.J.

    Vaccine passports are likely to become a necessary part of our lives until we achieve herd immunity and no longer need worry about contracting a potentially life-threatening virus from strangers. Such ‘passports’ might not be the first item on our wish list. But the arguments for their use are basic and compelling. As Gostin and colleagues’ recent article notes, vaccine passports encourage people to be vaccinated and allow a reopening of the economy. For those who want—as much as possible– to recover life as it was prior to the pandemic, they will become a necessity.

    Vaccination is not a risk-free action; it involves an assessment of both risks and benefits. Individuals whose position does not significantly impact public safety are free to decline to be vaccinated. With the adoption of a vaccine passport requirement, such declinations may cost people opportunities for social interaction and economic engagement. Such is their choice. The benefit calculation of vaccination increases the prospect going to a restaurant, sporting events and to other unrestricted activities. Vaccine passports simultaneously encourage vaccination and provide a quick way to assure a public concerned about Covid they can safely enter public venues. (source)

    They control the narrative frames, the entire mix of thought. They are the shamans, the arbiters of good sense, future knowledge, and interpretations of human and non-human kind, throughout the ages.

    There is no debate, really around how dictatorial and patronizing the entire project is in Capitalism, from book writing/publishing, to how you get your prostate analyzed, to how you are supposed to take those classes and lift off with a degree. Until we have reached, 2021, the massive unethical, illogical, and propagandistic level of forced jabs.

    It is amazing, really, that we have let this happen — no choice, no pushback (real pushback). Those who are putting their lives at risk, who have fought the jab, have submitted. You can’t get a cappuccino or rental car without the jab passport. This is the most amazing time for the flagging masses. Even communist Cuba is into this Genetic Engineered jab. Imagine that, dark age thinking with high-tech manipulation.

    So, the body can’t fight this off, or, well, 92 percent can, without major issues, or, well, we mostly can fight it off to the point of no hospitalization, incubation, but in the end, we are living caldrons for this SARS-2 to set off on variant after variant, attacking heart, lungs, liver, more, until we might be permanently damaged by the virus.

    A novel virus, indeed. Those novels I have piled up as manuscripts were inventions of my own, time honored hard work, crafting, editing, cutting, and adding. Building characters, detailing settings, regulating pitch in language. All that hard work of imagination put to crafting.

    Here, bio(unethical) — their Covid page:

    Source They call it a toolkit, and yep, no contrarian, no pushback.

    Bioethics.net and the American Journal of Bioethics have assembled a bioethics toolkit for people dealing with COVID-19.

    We have a collection of important blogs from around the internet that you can find here. We also highly recommending our growing catalog of our original blog posts by leading scholars writing on bioethics in pandemics.

    Other compendium resources

    • The Hastings Center has assembled a number of reports and resources.Thomas Cunningham at Kaiser-Permanent has put together a comprehensive resource of academic articles, government plans, and allocation frameworks.AMA COVID-19 Ethics Resource Center

    • For the best scientific information:

    • For policies, protocols, and practices:

    • For ethical guidelines on vaccines & allocation:

    • For ethical guidelines for responding to crisis:

    • For plans on triage:

    • For clinical algorithms for making allocation decisions

    • For CPR/DNR with COVID protocols

    • For communicating with patients and others

    • VitalTalk: Communication skills and sample scripts

    • Communicating in a crisis

    • Special journal issues/articles

    The coronavirus particle has a crown of spikes on its surface.

    Oh those scientists, working on gain of function, tweaking viruses, super-charging them, creating chimeric madness, testing a bat virus by bulking it up and putting it to the test on humanized mice. Working the spiked proteins and the messenger genes to go for the heart, lungs, vital organs.

    For Christ’s sake, we get ad nauseum articles on research into coffee — too much bad for you, or a few cups a day, amazing? Cures for cancer, or cancer causing? We have every manner of deep research into whether dairy is good or bad, whether sugar is good or bad. Yet, this sticky wicket, well, we can’t even dare ask the questions around how/why/who/when/what/where have these experiments been conducted. Instant open records for the background on all the military involvement with virus research, all the 13,000 USA researchers on gain of function, all those other countries’ researchers and facilities. And, what are the effects of the mRNA and recombinant DNA molecules mucking about. Imagine, these recombinant DNA molecules are formed by laboratory methods of genetic recombination that bring together genetic material from multiple sources, creating sequences that would not otherwise be found in the genome.

    Not found in nature, that is.

    There are no questions, no challenges, and so we get forced jabs, globally, and no other forms of dealing with, a, this zoonotic jump of a bat virus to human (there are not bats found yet to have this SARS-2 virus; or, b, that this is man-lab made, hands down, and all of that crafting of novelty has created an out-of-control genetically engineers virus that does double, triple and quadruple duty to various humans.

    To the point that St. Fauci isn’t sure about a booster, or when, but the three big Pharma Boys, already have their boosters manufactured and at the ready, in a few months.

    This is not questioned — how it was anticipated, that SARS-CoV2 is now in need of double or yearly boosters.

    In all manner of thinking this through, we have no agency, no collective group of people to count on who might question the narrative. We just get plowed over by history and move forward — no questions asked, or too many questions to ask.

    Recombinant DNA and Biotechnology

    Ahh, try finding articles and debates within mainstream journals, etc., on anyone questioning mandatory vaccine passports, and the very idea of it being wrong for this philosophy (sic) of “no jab, no job.” It is utterly disgusting how the internet has shaped up. Good luck looking for deep discussion on why mandatory vaccination programs are wrong in this day and age, and exactly, what sort of vaccine (sic) is being mandated, that is never a question in the mainstream. Of course, we have other sources that question the entire narrative, the entire issue of this novel virus, and, alas, what the chemicals they are delivering through the needle really are and what they really do. But again, passports are digital, a multi-billion-dollar boondoggle for the master race — the rich, the elite, the (point).zero-zero-zero-One percent. Oh, the war criminal, Tony Blair. This mumbo-jumbo is doublespeak, marketing emptiness, and a huge campaign for a deeper and darker agenda:

    Meanwhile the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change – headed up by former UK Prime Minister Blair, a strong proponent of passport tech – lays out a five point plan for how to design an equitable scheme, arguing they need to be:

    Equitable. Health passes should be available to all citizens, including people who have not been vaccinated – for reasons of not being eligible yet, for medical reasons or through personal conviction – and not forgetting the needs of non smartphone-users.

    Adaptable. A pass should be able to be updated as understanding of the virus changes and as wider circumstances alter.

    Seamless. It needs to be easy and quick to use to encourage adoption and be as frictionless as possible in terms of the administrative burdens on businesses or health organizations.

    Transparent. Data collection and retention policies and parameters need to be strictly defined and completely open to users.

    Reliable. Passports must be designed with security and privacy at their core. (Source)

    These are monsters, and yet, in capitalism, in this totalitarian, or inverted totalitarian state, this is it —

    Salesforce’s long game –The pandemic response has also seen cross-industry alliances between tech firms and this is continuing around the concept of health credentials. Salesforce, for example, has committed to integrating the IBM Digital Health Pass into its work.com safe return to the workplace platform offering. The cloud leader is also a founding member of the Vaccination Credential Initiative (VCI), alongside arch-rival Oracle and a host of healthcare organizations. The VCI aims to develop a standard model for organizations administering COVID-19 vaccines to make the immunization data available in an accessible, interoperable, digital format.

    For its own part, Salesforce’s internal Office of Ethical and Humane Use of Technology has been heavily involved in the specifics of work.com and in considering the wider complexities of Vaccine Passports, although this last is a term that Yoav Schlesinger, Principal of Ethical AI Practice, doesn’t use, preferring to talk about the broader idea of digital health credentials:

    “From our perspective, one of the most critical elements of this safe return back to ‘normal’ is that digital health credentials incorporate much more than just vaccine status. Digital health credentials need, from an equity standpoint, to allow people to demonstrate their health status through a negative COVID test, through proof of recovery and antibody tests etc, so there needs to be multiple ways to present that information, so that we can all be assured of a safe return to whatever locale and location we’re talking about, whether for travel or returning to work or attending a concert, etc.”

    He adds that proof of vaccination is not the only way to establish that a workplace is safe:

    “Relying exclusively on proof of vaccination status may or may not be the strategy that an employer wants to employ. I think it’s critical that employees, and anyone else, are able to also establish that we can return to work through a negative COVID test or proof of recovery as well. There will certainly be circumstances and situations where people can’t be vaccinated, because of health conditions or because of a religious conviction. We want to ensure for the sake of equity that people are able to present their health credentials and their health status in multiple formats and through multiple avenues.”

    tonyprophet
    [Chief Equality Officer Tony Prophet and April Oliver, Associate General Counsel, Office of Ethics & Integrity at Salesforce]

    Human scum. Whitney Webb reported about the plans for expansive data collection through Vaccine Passports. Webb wrote about the Vaccine Credential Initiative’s SMART Health Cards, which were developed by governments working alongside Microsoft, Oracle and MITRE. According to Webb the developer of the cards, Josh C. Mandel, listed ‘Name, gender, birth date, mobile phone number, and email address in addition to vaccination information’, specifically as a ‘Starting point.’ (Source)

    Here, the January 2021 article 

    “Silicon Valley and WEF-Backed Foundation Announce Global Initiative for COVID-19 Vaccine Records” — Silicon Valley’s most influential companies, alongside healthcare companies, US intelligence contractors and the Commons Project Foundation, recently launched the Vaccination Credential Initiative. The initiative’s ambitions reach far beyond vaccines and will have major implications for civil liberties. BY WHITNEY WEBB

    We can’t have these ethical discussions with philosophers, gurus, all those groups spewing “we are medical and biological ethicists.” This is contradictory, and they are in no way acting as oversight folk, or ombudsmen. They are part of the colonized, and any discourse outside their frame is labeled, mostly, unworthy, uninformed, out of place, radical for radical sakes, contrarian, reckless, dangerous, and to be ignored. “We have toolkits for stopping this mindset. We have our ways. We know how to extract and inject.”

    The agenda is not hidden, in the shadows, but for most in the world, they have no bandwidth or willingness to question.

    The effort to manufacture consent for an all-encompassing digital identification system is notable given that its main selling point thus far has been coercion. We have been told that without such a system we will never be able to return to work or school, never be able to travel, or never be allowed to participate normally in the economy. While this system is being introduced in this way, it is essential to point out that coercion is a built-in part of this infrastructure and, if implemented, will be used to modify human behavior to great effect, reaching far beyond just the issue of COVID-19 vaccines. — Whitney Webb

    What got me onto the computer was reading Max Forte’s blog piece, ‘Race,’ ‘Diversity,’ and the University‘. He’s writing, Zero Anthropology.

    Through a continual succession of fear campaigns, Canadian universities are being intellectually sanitized to suppress, marginalize, and ideally to banish contrary thought. It is all done under the banner of familiar “good intentions”. In 2018, the panic was about “rape culture”. In 2019, it was about the “climate emergency”. In 2020, it was of course about “the pandemic”. In 2021, it is about “systemic racism”. What will it be next year? An outbreak of neo-fascist cannibalism?

    At least in a formal way, since 2007 (when ZA was launched as “Open Anthropology”) I have been studying the history and political-economy of academic knowledge production. When turning to the Canadian university, one learns of the “Canadianization” movement that gathered steam and strength in the 1970s and 1980s, which emphasized Canadian content in research and teaching, and Canadian hiring. At that time, Canadians were very aware of the country’s status as a dependent appendage of the US. It is a dependency that is enforced, from the top down, and where the dependency turns into cultural and political forms it can be most acutely observed in Anglophone Canada. That dependency has in fact increased: the law requiring that qualified Canadian applicants should get first preference, is routinely skirted by university departments and administrations. Our content is directly imported from the US: we are mere retail sales staff; we are spectators to knowledge production; we are, essentially, just an audience. To be deemed a serious and respectable academic in Canada, one must show advanced imitation skills in knowing how to synthesize and combine pieces of work produced by this or that prominent American/British/French scholar. Preparing a “literature review” is our favourite sport. We excel as consumers—much like regular Starbucks customers who invent complex and convoluted demands for how their “coffee” (i.e., liquid dessert) should be mixed. Our “signature” contribution involves the creative mixing of elements we had no hand in creating in the first place.

    Living in an officially approved “Monkey See, Monkey Do” culture, I would inevitably become attuned to patterns of importation and imitation sweeping “Canadian academia”. It is a determined mimesis; just as it banishes integrity and originality, it now silences dissent…where what one would expect academics to do as part of their job (doubt, question, debate) is what now constitutes “dissent”. We are meant to act as bobbleheads, perpetually nodding to uphold this virtual reality of uniformity, to pretend unanimity lest the spectre of “disagreement” should rear its ugly head.

    He’s spot on in so many ways, but in the end, he is parsing about diversity programs/training/ brainwashing. Absolutely, much of the diversity training is infantilized, and retrograde. I think in many ways, though, Max misses the point of academia — or the way it is set up, and has been. It is a training camp, mostly, for the colonized, the believes in Western Civilization, in discourse and knowledge in a most empirical way, and also, it is a place of disgusting hierarchies, and lock-step. Yes, the new in thing, the new normal, is diversity training, and LGBTQAI+ work. This stuff is fluff, window dressing, and alas, the corporation, THE CORPORATION(s) have colonized higher education, and K12 is a boot camp for compliance, follow the crowd, believe in authority, go the way, not against any grain.

    I’ve been on many mandatory diversity trainings, and yes, some content is childish, touchy feely, pop psychology, and, to be honest, yes, we need to tear down the entire system, and having LGBTQAI+ and BIPOC in the chambers of power, that is it, no, the Black Misleadership Class, as Glen Ford calls this reality.

    By 1970, the Black Radical Tradition lay mostly in the graveyard, and the way was clear for the Black Misleadership Class to monopolize Black politics on behalf of their corporate overseers. The first act of the first big city Black mayor, Cleveland’s Carl Stokes, was to put the police under the command of a Black retired general, whose first act was to issue the cops flesh- and bone-destroying hollow point bullets.

    The rise of the almost entirely Democrat-allied Black Misleadership Class is perfectly coterminous with construction of the Black Mass Incarceration State. The “New Jim Crow” was a bipartisan project, initiated under Democrat Lyndon Johnson’s Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, which vastly increased the manpower and funding for local police departments, and was put on hyper-drive by Republican President Richard Nixon’s “War on Drugs”–a War on Blacks that never ended but was re-declared by Republican President Reagan and reinforced by Democrat President Bill Clinton. At the local level, the exponential growth of the Mass Black Incarceration regime was administered by increasingly Black city governments, which oversaw and processed the deportation of millions of Black men, women and children to the Prison Gulag. Virtually all of these Black operatives of race and class oppression are Democrats. And all of them are celebrating their own political ascension as the wondrous outcome of Dr. King’s “dream.”

    By 2014, 80 percent of the Congressional Black Caucus was voting to continue the Pentagon 1033 program that funnels billions of dollars in military weapons and gear to local police departments. Four years later, 75 percent of the Black Caucus voted to make police a “protected class” and assault on cops a federal crime. (See BAR, “Black Caucus Sells Out Its Constituents Again–to the Cops.”)

    The Black misleaders are as silly as they are shameless, but they are not ineffectual. No white man could eviscerate Dr. King’s radical legacy, or make Malcolm X appear harmless to the imperial order–that’s a job for the Black Misleadershsip Class. While Dr. King rejected an alliance with the “triple evils,” Black Democratic misleaders describe their deal with the Devil as smart, “strategic” politics. They whip up war fever against small, non-white nations that seek only the right to govern themselves, behaving no differently on the world scene–and sometimes worse–than Donald Trump.

    They shame and weaken Black America, and have joined the enemies of life on Earth. King would shake his head, mournfully. Malcolm would keep his tight smile, doggedly. Then both would organize to expose and depose the Black Misleadership Class.

    MLK and the Black Misleadership Class

    Interesting, how one guy’s blog precipitates this loose ends response. There are corollaries, to the Forced Jab, the Forced Digital Gulag, the Forced Surveillance State up our asses, to what happened to MLK and Malcolm X. They were outliers in this country, but not worldwide, not surprisingly. Not sure what the Canadian Max Forte has to say, but in the end, I believe the white race, even those believing in good intentions, are flawed, to the max. Now, white race means European whites, Catholic Church white, Jewish white, so-so many (most all) billionaire white, millionaire white.

    The Life and Times of Hubert Harrison: A Forgotten Synthesis of African-American Socialism and Black Nationalism, Review of Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918 by Jeffrey B. Perry (Columbia University Press, 2009). In the first quarter of the 20th century, the major, competing trends of Black American political thought were already in vivid evidence: Black nationalist and socialist tendencies vied with corporate-backed accommodation. In Harlem, an extraordinary St. Croix-born activist-thinker named Hubert Harrison emerged on the scene, described as “more race conscious than [A. Philip] Randolph and more class conscious than [Marcus] Garvey.”

    In the following presidential election year of 1912, Perry explores the evolving political thought of Harrison in a discussion of a new set of articles by Harrison which appeared in the Chicago based International Socialist Review amid a growing, but not fully manifest tension between Harrison and the Socialist Party, which masked his simmering disillusionment with the party. In an article taking off on Rudyard Kipling’s 1899 poem, “The White Man’s Burden,” Harrison’s “Black Man’s Burden” depicted the suffering of African-Americans under white over-lordship. Over eight million African-Americans were disfranchised in sixteen Southern states by fraud and force, lacking political rights to protect their economic rights (i.e. property and jobs). Part two of the “Black Man’s Burden” demonstrated how the southern state school segregation laws contributed to the underfunding, creation of industrial education or “labor-caste schools” and miseducation of African-Americans. In these two articles, Harrison aimed a devastating critique at the accommodationist philosophy of Booker T. Washington, which publicly eschewed voting rights and a liberal arts college/​university education. Washington’s lieutenants had successfully conspired to obtain the removal of Harrison from his $1,000 a year job at the post office for two anti-Washington articles in the New York Sun newspaper, thus causing great economic hardship to Harrison’s family. Harrison’s final article in the International Socialist Review, “Socialism and the Negro,” was based on an earlier pro-IWW speech, in which he asserted African-Americans rather than constituting a reactionary hindrance to socialism, as some socialist theorists like Algie Simmons and Charles Vail claimed, were indeed the key component in the struggle by the American proletariat without which socialism in America stood little chance. (Source)

    Hubert Harrison

    I have a deep suspicion that we dissenters, dissidents, oppositional types, questioners, doubters of the official histories/narratives/sciences, and those of us who have a compunction to not trust the bloody intercourse of brute capitalism-militarism-government, that we are in one way or another, in the process of being exterminated. We are the brutes to heads of those Fortune 5000 Corp./LLC/Wall Street devils. We represent everything wrong with free-thought.

    [Still from Exterminate All the Brutes, 2021. (HBO)]

    Raoul Peck’s HBO docuseries Exterminate All the Brutes isn’t easy to watch — but it’s important popular education on the 600-year development of the concept and system of white supremacy associated with colonialism, slavery, and genocide.

    Within the film, Peck addresses the complexity of his own project, including its rhetorical implications for an intended audience, in a risky but interesting way. After providing a four-hour alternative history — alternative to the traditional mainstream education provided in America, at least — Peck concludes that it’s not really education that’s needed:

    “The educated general public has always largely known what atrocities have been committed and are being committed in the name of progress, civilization, socialism, democracy, and the market.”

    Mike Hale of the New York Times found this conclusion maddening:

    “He closes with a reproving phrase that echoes through the film: “It’s not knowledge we lack.” But he declines to say what it is we lack — compassion? Willpower? If there is something we possess that could have made history different, either he doesn’t know or he’s not telling.”

    But Peck’s conclusion is the most interesting aspect of the film. The implication seems clear: the majority knows the history, but doesn’t care, at least not enough. Peck’s jarring effects, in keeping with the groundwork laid by liberation cinema, seem designed to make us feel so sick of the history we’re part of and the system we’re in, we’ll actually lash out and try to destroy it.

    One docuseries isn’t nearly enough, obviously. It’s going to take a lot of furious filmmaking, and organizing, and speechmaking, and protesting, and marching, and fighting, to get a revolt going. Peck’s doing his part. (Source)

    That is the maddening aspect of today, that for most, they do not know the history of the USA and the White Race and Civilization and what they have all done to imprison, poison, indenture, shackle, co-opt, colonize, erase, flood with fear our own ability to see through the madness. This culture and capitalism have always been a punishing thing, and a giant psychological operation, way before Edward Bernays or PT Barnum . . . way back to the plagiarists and fabulists of those Abrahamic religions.

    Between 2011 and 2020, Amazon, Facebook, Alphabet (the owner of Google), Netflix, Apple, and Microsoft — known as the “Silicon Six” — paid roughly $219 billion in income taxes, which amounts to just 3.6% of their more than $6 trillion in total revenue, according to the Fair Tax Foundation. Income tax is paid on profits, not total revenue, and researchers said these tech giants are adept at reducing their tax liabilities by shifting profits to offshore tax havens.  (Source)
     Oh, those tax dodgers — We know how they roll!
    Show us the Benjamins — 
    Big Pharma model is serious obstacle to wiping out Covid-19, new report suggests - Global Justice Now Global Justice Now
    It all come downs to war, baby, war!
    The U.S. war industry sells to capitalist regimes around the world through direct commercial sales and foreign military sales (FMS). FMS tend to deal with big-ticket items or goods and services of a sensitive nature. Through FMS, the U.S. government procures and transfers industry goods and services to allied governments and international organizations.
    So, customers of the U.S. war industry typically affirm that they’re using the goods and services in self-defense, and the U.S. government doesn’t press them on the matter. After all, there is a lot of cash at stake. In fiscal year 2020 alone, the war industry sold $50.8 billion through FMS and $124.3 billion through direct commercial sales.  (Source)
    The post Taking a Trip Through the Magical Mania Tour first appeared on Dissident Voice.

    The Ethics of Healthcare Marketing

    Spend an evening watching television on any network in pretty much any town in America and you’d probably think that Big Pharma had already created a pill for anything that might ail ya. And, of course, in some ways, that’s not entirely wrong.

    Today we have a world of therapies to extend our lives and help make those lives worth living, even in the face of historically lethal conditions, from diabetes to HIV/AIDS.

    But that doesn’t change the fact that medicine is still a business. And, like most any business, healthcare systems, clinics, and practitioners alike often live or die on the power of marketing. Unlike other businesses, though, the healthcare industry is meant to serve a mission far higher than maximizing profits.

    And that means striking the appropriate balance between marketing to keep your practice solvent and maintaining the highest ethical standards of patient care.

    A Matter of Survival

    There’s no question that the world of business is becoming increasingly cutthroat. In the face of globalization, with its falling prices and rising competition, marketing to your target customer is no longer just a luxury, it’s a necessity.

    That’s true even for the healing profession, and Big Pharma has taken notice. It’s currently estimated that American pharmaceutical companies spend more than $20 billion annually marketing to doctors, trying to incentivize doctors to prescribe their products, even for “off-label” uses. That’s more than quintuple the amount they spend marketing directly to consumers.

    And what doctors get in return are both support and incentives. New and growing practices often rely on the perks offered by Big Pharma to promote their wares, while physicians enjoy the fringe benefits, from free fancy dinners to lucrative speakership deals.

    But it’s not only that clinicians are being courted to market the pharmaceutical companies’ preferred products inside the office. Healthcare providers are also turning to the marketing of their practices to stand out in an ever-crowded field.

    This is not, in itself, considered a violation of professional ethics. However, ethical boundaries may easily and quickly be breached where there is a lack of transparency, an overt or covert effort to misrepresent the practice or its practitioners, or misappropriation or abuse of private patient data.

    This sounds reasonable in theory, but in practice, the gray area is profound. The commercialization of healthcare may all too easily lend itself to the least savory practices of the marketing industry: hyperbolic claims and false promises, the denigration of competitors, the degradation of the profession.

    A Human Face

    As important as the commercial motivations of healthcare marketing may be, however, these are not the only concerns. There are, in fact, other and more patient-oriented concerns.

    The most significant of these, perhaps, is the fact that marketing can, indeed, play a critical role in patient education. Healthcare is a profoundly data-driven industry, and yet Big Data can be inaccessible or incomprehensible to many patients.

    Patient stories and testimonials can help humanize all those numbers and statistics. They can speak to the lived experience behind the metrics, reaching target audiences through compassion, empathy, and mutual understanding.

    That’s something that, in most cases, cold, hard data just can’t do. And, perhaps most importantly, patient and family stories are often far more than mere marketing tools. They’re educational resources, teaching patients and loved ones about the “on-the-ground” experience of diagnoses and treatments. When you’re managing your healthcare, being so informed about your condition and your options can literally be lifesaving, particularly when it comes to decreasing your likelihood for misdiagnosis or improper care.

    The problem, though, is that patient narratives can easily become appropriating and exploitative. Worse, they may easily violate patients’ privacy, their rights to control the use and dissemination of often deeply personal and highly sensitive information. It is for this reason, in particular, that any healthcare marketing strategy must be directed by rigorous adherence to HIPAA regulations. Ideally, this would mean ensuring that any healthcare marketing team be staffed with at least one specialist in HIPAA-compliant marketing.

    The Takeaway

    There are, perhaps, few professions in which morality and ethics matter as much as in the field of medicine. Patients entrust their healthcare providers, quite literally, with their lives. Loved ones turn the care of the most precious people in the world to them over to professionals. But that does not negate the fact that medicine is also a business. And even the best clinicians must market their services if their practices are to survive. However, while marketing in healthcare is vulnerable to the same ethical dilemmas and risks of traditional marketing, the moral and legal standards that must be met are far higher — as they should be.

    The post The Ethics of Healthcare Marketing first appeared on Dissident Voice.

    The Collector, Non-profit, Painter and Teacher

    There’s a tremendous power in this place, in this land, and I think that power really changes people’s lives.

    — Frank Boyden, Sitka Center for Art and Ecology.

    A large number of the most creative, skilled, and savvy people in the country are out of jobs simultaneously. How can we harness that resource and develop collaborative projects and programs for them that might foster interdisciplinary work, enhance skills, and result in innovation in process and product? Perhaps this is the time to incubate a ‘Creative Economy 2.0’ across the United States that is inclusive, interdisciplinary, and intersectoral.

    —  Michael Seman, an assistant professor of arts management at Colorado State University’s LEAP Institute for the Arts

    [New Earth 15, Daniela Molnar]

    Here’s a foundational question roiling inside creative people’s brains — What does the artworld look like now, during the economic bust and lockdown, and for the future?

    For me, I go back to the concept of duende — Goethe, who in speaking of Paganini, hit on a definition of the duende: “A mysterious force that everyone feels and no philosopher has explained.”

    After posing this and other framing questions (with that idea of a spirit/muse/ force, duende, as my talisman), I luckily have been gifted artists’ feedback and interviews, after initially receiving a few crickets and a couple of snarky diatribes about why journalists suck (yes, we are artful artists, too).

    Unfortunately, many artists who have some cash savings to fall back on, or housing, and that old time religion of being a trust fund baby, or even parents and uncles and aunts with some semblance of family connectivity, a spare office and bedroom, and the like, they are so mired in the “anyone but Trump” disease, and they sound so-so much like those elite NPR types who believe they are so tied to the fabric of the country, that these conversations about the death of art are a bit problematic.

    Many believe that the tough will get going, and that a little disruption never hurt anyone, and of course, they are absolutely wrong-wrong-wrong.

    Places like the UK and other places within the EU have study after study looking at the upheaval see death, the end of the road, depression, and just throwing in both the artist towel and other towels.

    Part Two to this is with David Rovics, an artist in Portland, who writes for Dissident Voice about his music career and his fight for rent control. Here, some of his writings at DV.

    My intent is not to having a pissing contest between those who have (white privilege, male or female) and those who do not have, but this discussion about who controls the narrative, the media, the press, the arts, well, i courses through the art world big time now, during, and soon, after, Covid-Hysteria/Covid Reset, and it certainly had been coursing through this society for decades.

    Yes, we expect artists to starve, and we expect that the master of the universe and sometimes the most insipid ones, to determine the value of something, and the investment of both intellectual space and time and economic space and time in the arts.

    This is not about the value of, say, a piece titled, “Piss Christ,” or Robert Mapplethorpe’s work or Laurie Anderson’s performance. This is about the value of life, which is in so many ways for a socialist revolutionary what you do that is good and deeply redeeming as a person connecting ideas to society. Art is just that, and sure, the internal demons and muses of individual artists sometimes prevail, and the art many times seems self-indulgent and narrowly personal.

    But if we had a choice between Elon Musk types, Google “creative” types, all the Military Industrial Complex types, either slugs and leeches directly tied to munitions and death planes, or those very loosely tied to the killing mercenary machine of the US on so many levels, well, I’d take a bi-polar, oddly self-absorbed artist over any of the other thieves of hope and dreams and lives in Capitalism.

    Here, a cast of people I interviewed. Not surprisingly, this piece was to be a paid gig piece, but alas, the publication caved, even though we had agreed upon the general idea of the piece. No kill fee, nothing, just a “we can’t and won’t use this piece since it deviates too much from our vision and mission of . . . . . .” You can fill in that blank. The media and publishing and newspaper and magazine landscape is, for all intents and purposes, dead and dying, while we have to listen to the putrid multi-million dollar contracts for the Obama’s of the world, or the Trumpies, or all the others who are not writers or artists.

    You might tell I am mad, and this is the disenfranchisement of writers in our society, and the sting of rejection is nothing compared to the spinelessness of the entire field.

    Thanks to the pantheist originator in the heavens for Dissident Voice.

    Cast of players*

    The Collector: Duane Snider, with more than 40 years collecting (totalling 247) individual art pieces from PNW creators, who says his life is a living on-going work of art (Waldport, OR, 2 years)

    The collector | Columnists | discoverourcoast.com

    The Non-profit Impresario – Alison Dennis, executive director of the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, whose roots are East Coast, Bennington College, with writing and art coursework (Cascade Head, OR, 2 years)

    The Painter: Chuck Bloom, with a truckload of surrealistic and Tim Burton-esque wonderful (Portland, 19 years), who is self-described as the only LGBTQ board member on the Regional Arts & Culture Council (Portland, OR, 14 years)

    Featured Artist - Chuck Bloom — Scandals|PDX

    Educator-Activist Artist: Daniela Molnar, self-described as visual artist/poet/wilderness guide/educator/essayist/activist/eternal student (13 years teaching at Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland, OR)

    Photo credit: Genaro Molina for the LA Times

    Photo credit: Genaro Molina for the LA Times

    *Note: Each cast member deserves his or her own New Yorker-like feature!

    Art Not in a Political Vacuum (no matter how hard artists try and not be political) 

    I easily extrapolate from the cast of players this fact: 2020 represents a “new normal,” or a new “abnormal” for the world of arts.

    Daniela sees these times as magnification of feedback loops and more/greater shifts in how we confront colliding breakdowns in politics, the environment, the economy and the arts.  She concedes there were hard, dangerous times 13 years ago when she first started teaching in Portland. “What’s changed for me is my age and awareness, I suppose. These crises shifts challenge us more and more. Thirteen years ago, there weren’t Nazi rallies like we see under Trump. I don’t feel safe going out in public as a Jewish woman.”

    As both artist and educator, Molnar tells me she has soured on higher education, lamenting how students and faculty are constantly being exploited. She reiterates what a lot of writers and visual artists have said time immemorial – you don’t need a college degree to be a writer or artist.

    For New York-raised Molnar, she is “super grateful” her education took place in a time and manner where she incurred no debt. “I wasn’t treated as a consumer.”

    In a Closet in a Small Town

    Bloom’s roots go back to Bloomdale, a super small hamlet an hour south of Toledo, Ohio. He ended up in a private college, Mt. Union. His college loan debt is $80,000.

    “Artists are struggling like they haven’t before. The energy to be creative has been drained by politics, Covid19, and now the fires. There’s a real sense of hopelessness. I go into the studio and say to myself – ‘This is pointless.’”

    He ended up with his partner, Patrick (they met at Kent State), in Maui, working in an at-risk youth art program, as well as Borders Books.

    His husband Patrick had just left the world of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell US Navy when they met after answering newspaper ads. When they first came to Portland, artists could live downtown and afford a junky studio, Chuck says. “I really noticed the changes in 2007. A lot of people left the Pearl.”

    Bloom’s seen less diversity in the Portland arts scene than he first anticipated, emphasizing how he used to hold high the concept of an art community being progressive. “The people I have come to know are not really liberal. I am one of the artists discovering the truth that the liberalness in Portland is kind of fake.”

    How this illiberalness plays out is those controlling the art scene are holding back artists who want to not only question capitalism, but the art business. Now, with lockdown and loss of supplemental jobs, “I know a lot of people who want to give up their art dreams.”

    He brings up an artist he’s known for 20 years who has had to sell off her tools of the trade, abandon her studio and move into her parents’ house. “I am pretty well off compared to other artists,” he says, since his husband Patrick has a decent job with medical benefits.

    The student loan is an albatross around Bloom’s neck, however. That was money spent for a double major at a Methodist college, where he was “outed by an on-campus Christian group. I was living in a dorm with these prayer groups around me finding bible passages taped to my door.”

    Community within Community

    Strategic Plan

    [Sitka Center for Art and Ecology at Cascade Head, Oregon Coast]

    The 50th anniversary of Sitka’s founding is 2020, and Alison Dennis laments those events were cancelled because of Covid-19 and the restrictions on gatherings. For Sitka, shifts have taken place in how arts are delivered and framed. Alison and the board applied for CARE and PPP projection. She was able to keep five full-time and 2 part-time workers on staff. “The programs did not allow me to pass money onto the artist. We would have if we could have.”

    Artists depend on paid workshops and events where their work is displayed, considered,  and sold directly to the public, collectors. She’s quick to emphasize it would be a mistake to create this dichotomy of organizations over artists, or vice versa.

    Thanks in part to relief funding, and in part to foundations and private donors, we’re fortunate in that we’ve been able to keep our full staff employed at full pay. Staff capacity is essential to not only respond to this year’s crisis but also to plan for a resilient return. One example is working with instructors to design workshops for next year, such as outdoor painting and sketch booking workshops, with physical distancing in mind, Alison says.

    The celebration goes on, since Sitka had its first cabins up and running in 1972, so 2022 seems like an interesting time to promote, celebrate and reposition Sitka for the changing times. Resilience is great, but artists are most of the times soloists, on their own, lone wolves. They can build community, but most of the time that is a cash-poor cooperative group.

    I asked Sitka’s Dennis a key question on all our minds: One major shift in this pandemic is the inability to gather, hold openings, do group training, and such? What effects do you see this new normal have had on artists and the relationship to both the general public and students of art?

    Sitka’s annual Art Invitational is one example of this dilemma. Each fall we host a regional 3-day art show showcasing over 300 works by over 100 PNW artists, and raising over $40K in direct art sale dollars that go directly into artists’ pockets, she says. This fall’s show was cancelled due to Covid-19. While we’re working to find ways to connect buyers with artists online, neither the experience nor the economic impact is close to the same.

    Collecting Dust? He Wants More Lower Economic Folks to Enjoy Original Art!

     

    The collector | Columnists | discoverourcoast.com[Installation of Chuck E. Bloom originals in Snider’s home]

    The magic power of a poem [of art, of music] consists in it always being filled with duende, in its baptizing all who gaze at it with dark water, since with duende it is easier to love, to understand, and be certain of being loved, and being understood, and this struggle for expression and the communication of that expression in poetry sometimes acquires a fatal character.

    — Federico García Lorca, Theory and Play of the Duende, 1933

    For 68-year-old Duane Snider, his 39 years as a 9-to-5 blue-collar optical lens grinder left a deep emotional toll on him. He kept from jumping off a bridge (for five years he imagined that act daily where he saw the Ross Island bridge) by galvanizing himself into the world of Portland’s art scene.

    We are talking about, he estimates, 3,000 to 4,000 art gallery openings, museum soirées and museum talks and MFA shows.

    He says he’s always been the backer of the artist, reluctant about the capitalist bent of art galleries taking sixty percent of the sales of art for their own benefit.

    Snider and his wife Linda want to disperse of their large collection (247 pieces and counting) through a model of gifting one piece of art to one deserving, underfunded person at a time.

    His collection is chalk-full of Chuck Bloom’s work – over 30 pieces.

    I’ve always thought artists are the most brutalized in a capitalist system, Snider tells me. The very richest people are obsessed with controlling artistic culture.

    He and I have talked for hours walking the beaches around Waldport. While he is the pied piper for creative people in need, Snider also sees artists as problem solvers. He believes artists need to take control of their work, of their own promotion, and of their sales. “. . . and an increased emphasis on the work as a product.”

    The white box model of a gallery exhibit is passe, and many galleries are dropping like flies in this pandemic. Snider harkens back to Portland’s 1960s and ‘70s art scene, citing the Image Gallery, a sort of venue for the people started by Jack McLarty and his wife Barbara.

    I believe art is for everyone. And I have always been afraid for artists and believe there will be tremendous casualties for great artists and creative people now with this economic crisis.

    Snider recalls the twice-a-week art classes at Portland’s St. Francis church where artists would work with homeless citizens in their artistic expression. Are those days numbered? Maybe.

    Bloom, Snider and Molnar believe artists can be that radical thinker and doer, but capitalism takes its own toll on the arts – careerism and milquetoast expression.

    But I find today in the U.S., two … or make that three … overriding aspects to public discourse. One is aggression. It is a snarky and sarcastic and hostile populace. Two is white privilege. And you see already that they overlap. Third is a distrust of art and the non-instrumental. This is American masculinity, but it seems to have leaked into much feminist thought as well. In any event the professionalizing of art and cultural production began a long gradual process of excluding radical voices and then even working-class voices. Since theatre is what I know best, and what I do, still, the rise of MFA programs coincided with the removal of disruptive voices. And soon a strange disfigured bureaucratization of culture had taken hold.

    – American John Steppling is a playwright, author and commentator: a collection of plays, Sea of Cortez & Other Plays and his book, Aesthetic Resistance and Dis-Interest by Mimesis International.  He lives in Norway.

    Truth Tellers, Fully Awake, Resistance Fighters

    Screen Shot 2020-01-11 at 12.48.11 PM

    [Daniela Molnar interviewed in LA Times and on local TV]

    Daniela Molnar sees a tsunami of shake-ups of smaller art schools since Covid-19 lockdowns exposed more of the inequities of neoliberalism and capitalism. She no longer works for PNCA, which just recently merged with Willamette University.

    Her pedigree, at the relatively young age of 41, is impressive: founder of the Art + Ecology program at the Pacific Northwest College of Art, founding co-editor of Leaf Litter, Signal Fire’s art and literary journal, and art editor at Bear Deluxe Magazine.

    Interestingly enough, right before the Covid-19 pandemic declaration, Molnar was featured in a February 2020 LA Times article aptly titled – “An Artist Set Out to Paint Climate Change. She Ended Up on a Journey Through Grief.”

    She was contemplating the shape produced with missing chunks of the Eliot Glacier on Mount Hood. She was zoning out one day while listening to a lecture by a hydrologist. Then she thought — “I haven’t seen that shape before. Maybe I can use that.”

    That process of using crushed rocks mixed with gum arabic, a binder, and water from the rain barrel in her yard, for her, is a process of shaping an “abstract” set of scientific theories like climate change into art. Provoking feelings was her intent, but as she says in the LA Times piece, her own feelings of grief took over.

    Given that generalized concept of “grief,” after talking with Daniela, I realize she doesn’t know what the future looks like, yet she still is a proponent of dancing to the beat of her/our own drummer when embodying the life of an artist: “Being an artist is one way to craft an honest life. It’s not going to be an easy life, but artists need to see clearly . . .  clarity over ease. Art doesn’t look like any one thing.”

    It is necessary for my own sanity  to insert a stream of positivity in an article framing this new normal as a time of upheaval, struggles, loss and clouds of unknowing.

    If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to be. We are not wise, and not very often kind. And much can never be redeemed. Still life has some possibility left. Perhaps this is its way of fighting back, that sometimes something happened better than all the riches or power in the world. It could be anything, but very likely you notice it in the instant when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.

    – Poet Mary Oliver,  Don’t Hesitate, November 4, 2020

    Full disclosure:   I have never made a living as a poet, novelist, essayist and photographer. For more than 46 years I have cobbled together a living teaching part-time gigs, editing, working in social services case management, undertaking newspaper reporting and more to feed me and my need to write and photograph. This March 2020 my latest book, a short story collection, was derailed as all bookstore readings, conferences, literature confabs, libraries were cancelled.

    I critique this new (i.e. old) normal which is illustrated in every group within the political red v. blue spectrum:  not questioning authority and their masters, whether it’s Bezos, Trump or Kate Brown; not questioning draconian lockdown rules; accepting Zoom schools; failing to see heads on pikes after the massive graft in the trillions of dollars for US corporations; and no collective action for the hundreds of millions losing livelihoods. That’s bad enough; however, while leftist artists are both validated by the enormity of the neoliberal course of US predatory and parasitic capitalism displayed ever-more clearly in 2020, we are more ostracized economically and pushed way outside the margins of the “other” than any other time in history.

    I’ll end with Hiroyuki Hamada, a New York artist and writer:

    I am sure that with all sorts of manmade substances tossed into the environment, we probably do have physical components that can’t be attributed to our psychological needs alone, but still, I have a serious doubt about how our society deems creative behaviors as sickness because they don’t coincide with the system requiring obedient people for efficiency, productivity and profits. The unquantifiable creative potential smashed by such a tendency can be enormous.

    And speaking of the urgent need for radical imagination and keeping one’s hate pure, I think the lack of those is not only stifling our capability to come up with the solutions, but it is blinding many of us from simply seeing the mechanism itself.

    Shelter Within The Storm: A Dialog On Politics And Culture” with Phil Rockstroh.

    For more on Daniela’s work, her web site.

    For more on Chuck’s work, his web site.

    For more on the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, their web site.

    The post The Collector, Non-profit, Painter and Teacher first appeared on Dissident Voice.

    Ground-Truthing in a Time of Continuing Criminal Enterprises

    First, the reality on the ground –

    I am still working, losing billable hours weekly as my contract with an “anti-poverty/social capital” organization winds down. This is with a non-profit that is pushing over $100 million (“donated” by millionaires, billionaires, philanthropies and in some cases state and city programs)  that came down the pike just in the past six months for so-called Covid-19 relief money for, right now, the 110,000 folk already, from Oakland to Detroit to Chicago and Austin and Seattle, who have applied for funds varying from $500 a person in King County, WA, from the Starbucks Mafia for out-of-work restaurant folk (that was $6 million of Schulz Foundation blood coffee profits), to home owners in Chicago who can apply for eviction relief.

    I’ll do a piece on the outfit as my time with them ends soon, but for now, any Google search for my name, well, that’s a killer. For instance, again, I need the work, and for two jobs for which I interviewed via Zoom, I got the thanks but no thanks — a permancey worker for foster children, and then a worker for folks with developmental disabilities. In each case (and I have written about both this and reverse sexism, and anti-socialist crap before) five women (a state job and then a country job) interviewing me. All these teams are stacked with women, and in the illogic of neoliberalism and this bizarre mentality, why not keep a man off the team. As if young foster youth and youth who might need to be reunited with biological families, and those with developmental disabilities NEVER EVER need to see or hear from a male case worker. You think it is true these HR folk do a Google on me? Yep.

    So, now, limping along, imagine, I am working as a contractor – on the 1099 IRS form– and there is little broad connection to the organization I work for in terms of my own benefit and contribution for the organization. There is a lot of fakery, a lot of on-the-screen fake comradeship.  These people are siloed, as they work remotely (before lockdown Covid-19 Zoom Gulag). There is a lot of cliqueness, and the entire concept of remote work and conference calls/training/management is dead from the navel up.

    But it is the thing of the future, thanks to the thousands upon thousands of outfits pushing on-line banking, on-line education, on-line med, on-line psychiatry, on-line family reunions, on-line weddings/divorces/funerals/ anniversaries/birthdays/dating/sex. The world is the app developers’ and the tech monsters’ virtual oyster.

    But the working with the devil noise is now much more pronounced with this outfit I ended up working with starting a year ago July. We are talking about a non-profit that is now working hand in hand with the Koch Brothers (Stand Together) and Charles Schwab and all that lovely stuff that is part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

    Koch Network Reorganizes as ‘Stand Together’ May 22, 2019.  The Seminar Network , a network of nonprofits funded by Charles Koch and like-minded conservatives and libertarians who donate at least $100,000 annually to “help people improve their lives,” has announced that going forward it will be known as Stand Together .[ Source ! ]

    So, this non-profit is over 18 years old, and used to have sites where household members met monthly, shared stories, shared resources, and did journals to receive some cash assistance. It was always the “data in the monthly journals was aggregated, not connected to one specific person or household.” And the non-profit got seed money and in-kind app development and AI support from, well, you guessed it, Google.

    Connecting to the Koch Brothers is a dance with the devil. That started in Februart, 2020. Talk about cognitive dissonance —

    Koch-Backed “Libre Initiative” Purports To “Empower Hispanics,” But Pushes Policies That Would Disproportionately Hurt Poor Hispanics. Libre Initiative, backed by more than $10 million in Koch funding, purports to “empower Hispanics,” but experts say the organization supports policies that “disenfranchise Hispanic voters” and opposes programs that would help millions of Hispanics living in poverty. Libre opposes the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and minimum wage increases, both of which would disproportionately benefit the Hispanic community, especially those living in poverty, and supports voter ID laws that would “disenfranchise Hispanic voters, other minorities, and the poor.” — Media Matters. 

    So, this Stand Together is supported by the billionaires who hate teachers, hate unions, hate raising the minimum wage, hate the science around global heating/warming, hate universities, hate hate hate. And, the non-profit I work with is mostly made up of BIPOC, and many are 20-somethings and 30-somethings. Many came from poverty. Some are originally from places like Puerto Rico and Columbia.

    Track these billionaire misanthropes here — Koch Docs. 

    Read about the Koch Brothers in “Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America,” by the Christopher Leonard.

    As a 1099 contractor on the outs — who goes to bat for the few hundred Oregonians in the project I am/was heading up, money from Department of Human Services, to the tune of $720,000 total (most of which has not been distributed) — I am way left-left of field, the most radical person these young and youngish people will ever meet. I am not a capitalist, and I know what capitalism does. The proof is in the pudding — and if I sent this over to any of the people I work with, nah, I’d expect more than just push back. I’d expect narcing in the true sense of that term.

    Read, Wrench in the Gears:

    One of the biggest things we’re up against, and something few people are talking about, is social impact investing and pay for success finance. Within the hollowed out shell of the welfare state, which admittedly was always inadequate and used for purposes of racialized social control, global finance has built a new machine that will use predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, and wearable and screen-based technologies to monitor the global poor and profit from their misery.

    This effort is being carried out in partnership with the non-profit sector, higher education, think tanks, and global foundations. Many involved identify as liberal, even progressive. Successful resistance will require stopping Trump, the Koch brothers, and ALEC, as well as a corporate, militarized Blue Wave that has every intention of stabilizing late-stage capitalism with technocratic “evidence-based” solutions. Make no mistake; this is a fully bipartisan enterprise.

    Outcomes-based contracts are this machine’s operating system. Contracts employ pay-for-performance agreements that reimburse service providers IF they produce specified success metrics. These metrics are narrowly defined and chosen for their ability to be gamed. Contrived solutions offer up fake “success” to enrich investors at the expense of vulnerable populations. Think standardized test scores as success metrics for education or fit-bit step counts for preventative health.

    This machine requires a steady supply of people labeled deficient by those in power. Like batteries in the Matrix, the poor are meant to be the fuel. The machine does not care for their actual wellbeing; its sole purpose is to maximize profit. In that it is similar to the capitalist Western medical model where Big Pharma opts for chronic disease management over research leading to cures. Pay for success will not empower the poor, but instead manage them and harvest their data, indefinitely. — Pay for Success Finance Preys Upon The Poor: Presentation at Left Forum 

    You can read more about the reality of capitalism NEVER dying because it is, a., running through the BlackRock filter ($100 trillion that for-profit scheme has on its ledgers as handlers of money), b., part of a huge effort to colonize most people on earth to abide by the Dashboard overlord. That is, people in dire straits will abide to almost anything to get paid, to get food, rent money, something, whether an at-home-paycheck, or some UBI – universal buffoon income.

    It’s not just the vaccine passport that will be on the Dashboard, monetized, collected, used against you (if you don’t get one of those shots), or in your favor (if you get the shot, let the shot people put more data about you on the Dashboard, and let the AI and tech fascists decide what is or is not a viable human being on planet earth). Everything you do or say or believe or put on Facebook, that all will be collected, parsed, judged (AI) and then used to determine your worth, whether you are near the value of Soylent Green or some cubicle worker developing code.

    Education is already dead in the water.  So the concept of a smart, educated, critically thinking, independent, demanding, critical of government/ corporations/media student, well, that has been gone-gone-gone. Now, look at the Pre-K plans for the future below:

    Look, they will be collecting BMI’s and all those details of all our chronic illnesses, all reports from the cops, all prescriptions taken, all notes from the social worker/psychologist/psychiatrist. They will collect all movements in your work history, all movements in your credit history, all moving and non-moving violations.

    Capitalism is not dying, but rather, it is a Philip K. Dick nightmare, making Minority Report and Gattaca and Blade-Runner look like a bicycle ride around Mister Rogers neighborhood.

    The Good Club

    Make no bones about it – capitalism is in its 4.0 iteration of surveillance punishment. Capitalism is never just that – a form of economic relationships, that is supposed to be fair, balanced and with that free hand helping the community of businesses come together and practice fair market sharing, and using that all boats rise kind of communitarian logic. Nine sheep farmers on the island working out how much bite the flocks can make, which fields stay off limits during certain seasons, how to share the streams, the fields, the pathways, the roads and access to markets. Even a collective of shearers and ways to store the wool and how to enhance all their lives. Sure? But then that 10th farmer comes on board, moves to the island and well, a true capitalist maximizes profits, finds ways to cut corners (expenses), and has ways to not share the water  and share the commons. Alas, yep, tragedy of the commons, and without communism and participatory democracy, then the common good is thrown out with the blood and guts and shit, put in a pond, collected out back, where the poor workers live. The common good has been replaced by the corporate good, the good of the stockholders, the good of the few at the expense of the many. Children understand this. Good things are not bad things done to good people. Duh. But capitalism is all about bad and mean and horrors done to good people.

    But children can’t be taught this anymore, and alas, what passes as education today, moreover, for the past 30/40 years, has been a mix of indoctrination and pacification.

    ‘Traditional education can be seen as sculptural in nature, individual destiny is written somewhere within the human being, awaiting dross to be removed before a true image shines forth. Schooling, on the other hand, seeks a way to make mind and character blank, so others may chisel the destiny thereon,’ John  Gatto, The Underground History of American Education

    Much of Gatto’s writing is focused on the basic yet often overlooked distinction between schooling and education. At the heart of his work is the simple yet radical suggestion that mass schooling, a 19th-century European import to the U.S., is not the modern manifestation of the ancient concept of education but, rather, its diametric opposite.  See: Truthout Vincent Kelley, October 25, 2019

    I have written about my own decades teaching, from community colleges, to universities to prison programs, and K12. It is an absolute mess under capitalism, patriotism and commercialism. A society that believes in the red-white-and-blue and the power of the sword, well, you need willing participants and fools in that game. Start them off young. And no matter how radical and true to education one teacher or a million might be, the American will is to have outsiders and outside-the-box participants break.

    Rockefeller’s General Education Board summed up in a 1906 document on scientific schooling:

    In our dreams … people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present educational conventions [intellectual and character education] fade from our minds, and unhampered by tradition we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive folk…. The task we set before ourselves is very simple…. We will organize children … and teach them to do in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way.

    It is only worse a hundred and 14 years later.

    Capitalism has always been a stacked deck, and always has been based on penury, parasitic, predatory financial exchanges; and socialism for the corporations. Every aspect of capitalism has been set forth as a system of dog-eat-dog, and survival of the fittest. In fact, it is a form of Organized Crime, a unique Mafia … and those externalities and economies of scale that have set about mass murders of people – either softly, through economic violence, or, deliberately, through the myriad of toxins and poisons and slow/moderate/fast death by a thousand carcinogens.

    Then it makes sense that self-driving cars, Internet of Things, vaccine markers and RFIDs, mass surveillance and real time data collecting, from saliva to ulcers, from keyboard clicks to Netflix picks, the entire system is set up to use  regular humans as sources of data. Like big lakes of human blood to be harvested.

    Neuroweb

    Forget about the mass media and mass indoctrination. Forget about Madison Avenue and the applied psychology and behaviorism of perceived or planned obsolescence. Forget about the dopamine hits from gambling, lotteries, shopping, eating, vegging out. Forget about the manipulation through the dark arts of subliminal advertising. Forget about the colonization of the mind through malls, box stores, and now the on-line tyranny of the Walmart/Target/Amazon kind.

    Forget about the blood and guts and shit and cancerous tumors chopped up and mixed in with the All American hotdogs, or the shit and fetuses and unusable offal of the birds-swine-cattle used to feed The Jungle on Steroids. Imagine, a system – capitalism – that has the dark arts of lobbying, prostituting politicians, and the economic hitmen/snake oil salesmen/grifters/outright thieves/destroyers/takers all allowing mercury in baby formula, lead in water, microplastics in everything, untested nanoparticles pulverized and mixed in with the pancake batter, all the gas-fuel additives that cause future mommy to have ovarian cancer at 25 and future daddy to have a sperm count one-half that of a guy like Willy Loman.

    Imagine that system, man, of zero precautionary principle which, in fact, has already been reversed as the cost of doing business. Forced arbitration, death of class action lawsuits, $2000 an hour lawyers to bankrupt any plaintiff, and this great system, called Capitalism, moves like a rabid pack of dogs ten million strong across the land, the globe.

    The conversations with both left and right of that manure pile called American national politics, well, vapid, and hinging on insanity all the time.

    Read more on social impact bonds — man, capitalists make money on every single bad move, bad decision, bad health care outcome, bad driving record, bad physiology, bad mental health performance, bad check, bad report card, bad loan, bad divorce, bad habit, bad addiction, bad sin, bad purchase, bad trip, bad death.

    Rikers Island SIB

    Whew.

    Now back to the ground-level stuff – I am working as a journalist (one paid gig, others free), editing Cirque Journal as guest editor (a $100 honorarium). I have a new book out and three more to get ready, and alas, where is that publishing money? Right:  in the hands of the overlords and their mutants. From Mary Trump to Michael Cohen to Joe Rogan, well, the list of undeserving “authors” and complete trash products of nothingness is very very long. A hundred blog pages long. And that’s just a start!

    Yet, I live in an area of the world (Central Oregon Coast) where many people are either really hurting with small fixed incomes or those that have gotten some form of the brass ring and are holding steady in their fairly middle class retirement. Plus, the service economy, and their families and their struggles are to the tenth power.

    Many of the people I communicate with on social media, well, I wonder about them – they seem to also have some form of semi-secure stream of income. And yet, boy, do we hear a lot from those left-of-Al Gore types writing for blogs, Facebook posts, and on-line magazines. A LOT.

    They have in most cases no concept of what homelessness is, or how housing insecurity destroys all hope. They are all raring to go with the “masks don’t work” thesis, or, “Biden is worse than Trump hands down” yammering. It is a bizarre time. They know nothing of two or let alone ten opposing ideas that all need parsing and critical discussion.

    Many of my more secure friends think I am all 401-k-ed up. “Man, books, years as a journalist, decades as a college instructor, social worker . . . blah-blah-blah.” They just are as out of touch as those who believe Biden and Trump are two peas in a pod, or that the democrats hands down across the board are as bad or worse than republicans across the board.

    Man, it is a shit show. Look, I have worked to lobby for part-time faculty rights, to lobby for stricter river rights, lobbied to increase minimum wage, lobbied to do a lot of progressive things. The conversations and the level of intelligence those two-bit senators and representatives who deem themselves blue compared to the level of intelligence, depth, humanity of those two-bit senators and representatives who deem themselves red are absolutely night and day, hands down.

    We are not talking Karl Rover or Bill Clinton or James Carville or Cheney or Pence or Biden or Trump and all their lackeys and money-grubbing pukes. I am talking about small-town politics, about small districts, about large state districts.

    Yep, few are going to be able to talk about Zapatistas, anarchism, ecosocialism, any of the progressive issues, but many conversations with democrats I have had over 4.5 decades, from Idaho to Seattle, from Las Cruces to Houston, from Portland to New York City, well, it doesn’t take some Off-Guardian winner to give the world the daily news – I can attest to the complete retrograde, misanthropic, mean-as-cuss, dog-eat-dog mentality of EVERY GOP or republican I have talked to in those 4.5 decades. Inherently, they are pro-cop, pro-war, pro-unfettered capitalism; they are anti-union; anti-collective bargaining; anti-environmentalism; anti-Medicare-for-all. They are fucking misanthropes, making neoliberals seem like saints. And we know what neoliberalism is!

    For anyone to talk differently, well, that is one big fat lie. Delusion. Game. Devil’s Advocacy. Or just inherent love of some of  Trump’s melodies of hate, from his anti 1619 Project, to his hate of critical race theory, to his complete ignorance, man, complete. Something about the white whore Trump that some of these lefties sort of like. Ask them.

    Try it, really, with two-bit GOP v. two-bit democrat. Mayoral candidate? County supervisor? Try it. REALLY. Talk to both of them about those progressive issues, those radical ideas, those socialistic ideals. You will have ears with democrats, and rants and closed minds of the GOP.

    Yep, you have to have the gift of gab, and you have to pull them into their subterfuge. In most cases, you have to be a white male talking to these fellows and women. It doesn’t take a Gore Vidal level of debate skills to flush them out of their racist, anti-raising-the-minimum-wage-to-a-living-wage mentality.

    Yet, oh, yet – how broken the American soul is, and I can’t lump all the lower middle-class folk who go for the Elephant in the big state races, etc. Many can and do have intelligent conversations, and can understand  false balance, invented dichotomies and do know how to process counterintuitive thinking.

    I dare anyone to talk to a GOP or MAGA or military industrial complex whore about peace, getting USA out of any place, but let’s just say Venezuela. Try it. Try and discuss how corporations who lie-cheat-pollute-steal-murder must not only be prosecuted and fined, but community-wide reparations must be exacted from them as restorative justice. Try that one out with the neighbor posting the “Trump is a Sign from Out God” sign on their front yard.

    Is it expected that liberals (democrats) might say and believe and understand stupid things? Sure, a bunch came out recently with “Romney is the only ethical guy” when it was first known of Ruth Bader’s demise (and like the human stain he is, Mister Bain Capital, reversed that statement about holding off on a SCOTUS vote until after the “election”). Or, how Cynthia McCain is great, and so was John McCain. This sort of bizarre rah-rah is definitely part of America’s Amnesia, and the country’s general collective Stockholm Syndrome. We are (and have been for a very long time) living in a country with two piss-ass bad national parties that have blood on their hands.

    And part of the blood is on us all, as we pay for goods and services with those greenbacks – In God We Trust. Every tax filing, yep, money to-for-because of the military industrial complex, which we should know by now is everything from toilet paper to sunscreen, from pickles to window frames, from blue plastic tarps to armor-piercing ammunition, from drones to Hellfire missiles, from endless replacement parts to the tenth power each for every Hummer and Stryker parked on planet earth, to the B-1 bomber, the DARPA and Plume Island and Fort Detrick bioweapons lap dance. Every single person in academia who gets a grant from Rockefeller, Ford Foundation, any of the 2,700 billionaire-smeared non-profits and foundations and think tanks, well, they too are part of the Structural Violence and Military-Chemical-Drug-Oil-Med-Banking-Insurance-Prison-Ag-Law-Real Estate-Patent-AI-IT-Engineering-Space-Mining-Surveillance Complex.

    Capitalism is about selling out and the Faustian Bargain. It is a cancer, a colonization of the mind-body-spirit-history-cultures-futures. You can strip away one layer after another layer, opt out of one thing after another thing, advance a socialist agenda in this or that arena, but in the end, Capitalism not only has us all by the short hairs, the future will be dictated by Criminal Capitalism. Every single thing coming out of Hollywood or Madison Avenue or Publishing has the stench of Sulphur, so to read all those Off-Guardian writers who just go full force on the Democratic Party, full force on the Democratic governors pushing lockdowns, full force on the Democrats who want to curtail individual and community rights, they fail the litmus test when it comes to the history of what a Republican/Conservative perverse racist and supremacist Trump or Pence or Nixon or Reagan or you-name-the-piece-of-human-stain Republican believes and wants for the world. Ask them about anything Native American, anything about the history of colonialism, manifest destiny, any of it. Question them about reparations, about genocide, about community rights, about the people’s right to push out bad businesses, bad industries, bad companies from their communities/towns/cities/states. Ask them, man, about private property, about the right to own a bazooka, about any of it, and you will hands down get the same answer through and through – from a republican, and it is, a fact, every GOP is a racist, corporatist, anti-intellectualist cult member. Do the democratic administrations have blood on their hands? Are they hypocrites? Are they in bed with Wall Street?

    Yep.

    But have that conversation with a mayor or county supervisor or district representative. Flush them out, and see which GOP is open to any sort of liberal thinking. Good luck on that one.

    But now, down to brass tacks: the unemployment, underemployment, bad-employment (Shit Jobs, David Graeber, may you rest in peace) rates in the USA, the real buying power, the real economy, all of that has been the shits since 1970. Before. There was never a real middle class, and most Americans are part of the debtor class. New car, second car, house, boat, new roof, college education, a trip, new fridge, you name it, including surgeries and dental work, all of that is on CREDIT. For most Americans.

    You might have a better time framing these realities with naïve Democrats, but try it, brothers and sisters, with GOP and MAGA and Reaganites and Nixonites. Try those talks with them, your neighbors, anyone you know or suspect of being a cult-infused Trump-loving Christian-bowing Republican.

    I’ve been having those conversations since I was 13, so mark that:  one-half a century debating military, debating republicans, debating capitalists, debating the idea of America being anything other than North America, Canada, colonized and trashed, and then this USA colonized and trashed, and alas, Mesoamerica and Central America and South America, colonized and trashed before the United States ended up sending millions to their deaths through capitalism, structural economic warfare, propping up despots and dictators, and, here we are, then:

    So many of my friends who vote blue are freaked out about Trump, about the Proud boys, about the anti-BLM movement, about the homeless problem, the climate heating problem, the entire shooting match – capitalism on steroids.

    They are depressed and can’t even come to talk about the ways many of us who have been battling capitalism and faux democracy and this White Western Civilization’s rapacious and warring ways fight off that cynicism. They believe the world is cooked and ruined, and they in one fell swoop – in their naïve and shallow democratic party leaning ways – consign young and old to the dust bins of history even before the entire ranch has been sold down the river.

    I enjoy one gig:  focusing on people and their narratives and struggles. It’s for Street Roots, a paper that has won a lot of awards, but is a street newspaper, in Portland. Again, small potatoes, compared to the vaunted stuff over at Off-Guardian or Truthout or even now the Grayzone or Mintpress. But what I am finding is the stories in this newspaper are so more relevant than anything coming out of Glen Greenwald’s mouth, out of the celebrity culture that is either in overdrive, tied to MSM, or then those like  Thom Hartmann (small potatoes) and now the $100 million deal given to Joe Rogan from Spotify.

    I’m now interviewing Portland artists and the art community with the proposition around this — What is Art in a Time of Lockdown. Where Does Art Go Now that Artists Are Dropping to the Wayside like Flies. Is There No Exceptional and Out-of-the-Bourgeoise Box Art Anymore. Along those lines, but really, just talking to people who were already challenging the Art Biz mentality of American (Western Art) popular art that has permeated the art world for decades but now supercharged.

    I just finished this older book: The Art Biz: The Covert World of Collectors, Dealers, Auction Houses, Museums, and Critics Hardcover,  June 1, 1991 by Alice Goldfarb Marquis

    And I watched again, this documentary, which lifts a lot from Alice Goldfarb Marquis’ book.

    From acclaimed director Barry Avrich and executive producer Jonas Prince, BLURRED LINES: INSIDE THE ART WORLD lifts the curtain on the provocative contemporary art scene, a glamorous and cutthroat game of genius versus commerce. Featuring insider accounts from the most influential and powerful players in the industry, audiences will hear from renowned artists such as Julian Schnabel and Marina Abramovic, experts from prominent museums like MoMA and art fairs like Art Basel, insiders at Sotheby’s and Christie’s, and leading gallerists.

    Imagine the degradation of thinking, discourse and debate over at the Rogan Show. And, Americans love their red-faced yelling heroes, their MC’s who do Mixed Martial Arts play-by-play, then a podcast, and now this big ass deal. Americans legitimize only those who are, a., high up on the You Tube platform, and, b., make news about themselves, and, c, have wads of money and wads of followers.

    This is what we have gotten to – Entertaining/Amusing/YouTubing/Reality TV-ing/Art of Dealing Ourselves to Death.

    What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.” In 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we desire will ruin us.

    This book is about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right.”

    ― Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

    Of course, Huxley didn’t quite describe the New World as a cultist crew of One Percenters and their Five Percent Eichmann’s and the other 15 Percenters who are the managers and bosses pushing this capitalism for the rich, trickle down, voodoo economics, what have you, for the POOR. But it is a cult, really, from celebrity to academic to overpaid idiots, and on and on, until we have perversions of humanity, whether Trump and his narcissism on steroids and Adderall, or Biden or Harris or Clinton, well, what fools we are for having new overlords in the administrations and the supreme courts, and even judgeships and DAs, inside the entire mess of America, run by people who get the mic, control the medium, get the print and copy and air time. All with big bucks thrown in.

    Celebrity — turned into the cult of the self, a la Chris Hedges:

    We have a right, in the cult of the self, to get whatever we desire. We can do anything, even belittle and destroy those around us, including our friends, to make money, to be happy and to become famous. Once fame and wealth are achieved, they become their own justification, their own morality. How one gets there is irrelevant. It is this perverted ethic that gave us Wall Street banks and investment houses that willfully trashed the nation’s economy, stole money from tens of millions of small shareholders who had bought stocks to finance their retirement or the college expenses of their children. The heads of these corporations, like the winners on a reality television program who lied and manipulated others to succeed, walked away with hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation and bonuses. The ethic of Wall Street is the ethic of celebrity.    The Man in the Mirror, Chris Hedges 

    The post Ground-Truthing in a Time of Continuing Criminal Enterprises first appeared on Dissident Voice.

    Why is the World going to Hell? Netflix’s The Social Dilemma tells only Half the Story

    If you find yourself wondering what the hell is going on right now – the “Why is the world turning to shit?” thought – you may find Netflix’s new documentary The Social Dilemma a good starting point for clarifying your thinking. I say “starting point” because, as we shall see, the film suffers from two major limitations: one in its analysis and the other in its conclusion. Nonetheless, the film is good at exploring the contours of the major social crises we currently face – epitomised both by our addiction to the mobile phone and by its ability to rewire our consciousness and our personalities.

    The film makes a convincing case that this is not simply an example of old wine in new bottles. This isn’t the Generation Z equivalent of parents telling their children to stop watching so much TV and play outside. Social media is not simply a more sophisticated platform for Edward Bernays-inspired advertising. It is a new kind of assault on who we are, not just what we think.

    According to The Social Dilemma, we are fast reaching a kind of human “event horizon”, with our societies standing on the brink of collapse. We face what several interviewees term an “existential threat” from the way the internet, and particularly social media, are rapidly developing.

    I don’t think they are being alarmist. Or rather I think they are right to be alarmist, even if their alarm is not entirely for the right reasons. We will get to the limitations in their thinking in a moment.

    Like many documentaries of this kind, The Social Dilemma is deeply tied to the shared perspective of its many participants. In most cases, they are richly disillusioned, former executives and senior software engineers from Silicon Valley. They understand that their once-cherished creations – Google, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, Snapchat (WhatsApp seems strangely under-represented in the roll call) – have turned into a gallery of Frankenstein’s monsters.

    That is typified in the plaintive story of the guy who helped invent the “Like” button for Facebook. He thought his creation would flood the world with the warm glow of brother and sisterhood, spreading love like a Coca Cola advert. In fact, it ended up inflaming our insecurities and need for social approval, and dramatically pushed up rates of suicide among teenage girls.

    If the number of watches of the documentary is any measure, disillusion with social media is spreading far beyond its inventors.

    Children as guinea pigs

    Although not flagged as such, The Social Dilemma divides into three chapters.

    The first, dealing with the argument we are already most familiar with, is that social media is a global experiment in altering our psychology and social interactions, and our children are the main guinea pigs. Millennials (those who came of age in the 2000s) are the first generation that spent their formative years with Facebook and MySpace as best friends. Their successors, Generation Z, barely know a world without social media at its forefront.

    The film makes a relatively easy case forcefully: that our children are not only addicted to their shiny phones and what lies inside the packaging, but that their minds are being aggressively rewired to hold their attention and then make them pliable for corporations to sell things.

    Each child is not just locked in a solitary battle to stay in control of his or her mind against the skills of hundreds of the world’s greatest software engineers. The fight to change their perspective and ours – the sense of who we are – is now in the hands of algorithms that are refined every second of every day by AI, artificial intelligence. As one interviewee observes, social media is not going to become less expert at manipulating our thinking and emotions, it’s going to keep getting much, much better at doing it.

    Jaron Lanier, one of the computing pioneers of virtual reality, explains what Google and the rest of these digital corporations are really selling: “It’s the gradual, slight, imperceptible change in your own behaviour and perception – that is the product.” That is also how these corporations make their money, by “changing what you do, what you think, who you are.”

    They make profits, big profits, from the predictions business – predicting what you will think and how you will behave so that you are more easily persuaded to buy what their advertisers want to sell you. To have great predictions, these corporations have had to amass vast quantities of data on each of us – what is sometimes called “surveillance capitalism”.

    And, though the film does not quite spell it out, there is another implication. The best formula for tech giants to maximise their predictions is this: as well as processing lots of data on us, they must gradually grind down our distinctiveness, our individuality, our eccentricities so that we become a series of archetypes. Then, our emotions – our fears, insecurities, desires, cravings – can be more easily gauged, exploited and plundered by advertisers.

    These new corporations trade in human futures, just as other corporations have long traded in oil futures and pork-belly futures, notes Shoshana Zuboff, professor emeritus at Harvard business school. Those markets “have made the internet companies the richest companies in the history of humanity”.

    Flat Earthers and Pizzagate

    The second chapter explains that, as we get herded into our echo chambers of self-reinforcing information, we lose more and more sense of the real world and of each other. With it, our ability to empathise and compromise is eroded. We live in different information universes, chosen for us by algorithms whose only criterion is how to maximise our attention for advertisers’ products to generate greater profits for the internet giants.

    Anyone who has spent any time on social media, especially a combative platform like Twitter, will sense that there is a truth to this claim. Social cohesion, empathy, fair play, morality are not in the algorithm. Our separate information universes mean we are increasingly prone to misunderstanding and confrontation.

    And there is a further problem, as one interviewee states: “The truth is boring.” Simple or fanciful ideas are easier to grasp and more fun. People prefer to share what’s exciting, what’s novel, what’s unexpected, what’s shocking. “It’s a disinformation-for-profit model,” as another interviewee observes, stating that research shows false information is six times more likely to spread on social media platforms than true information.

    And as governments and politicians work more closely with these tech companies – a well-documented fact the film entirely fails to explore – our rulers are better positioned than ever to manipulate our thinking and control what we do. They can dictate the political discourse more quickly, more comprehensively, more cheaply than ever before.

    This section of the film, however, is the least successful. True, our societies are riven by increasing polarisation and conflict, and feel more tribal. But the film implies that all forms of social tension – from the paranoid paedophile conspiracy theory of Pizzagate to the Black Lives Matter protests – are the result of social media’s harmful influence.

    And though it is easy to know that Flat Earthers are spreading misinformation, it is far harder to be sure what is true and what is false in many others areas of life. Recent history suggests our yardsticks cannot be simply what governments say is true – or Mark Zuckerberg, or even “experts”. It may be a while since doctors were telling us that cigarettes were safe, but millions of Americans were told only a few years ago that opiates would help them – until an opiate addiction crisis erupted across the US.

    This section falls into making a category error of the kind set out by one of the interviewees early in the film. Despite all the drawbacks, the internet and social media have an undoubted upside when used simply as a tool, argues Tristan Harris, Google’s former design ethicist and the soul of the film. He gives the example of being able to hail a cab almost instantly at the press of a phone button. That, of course, highlights something about the materialist priorities of most of Silicon Valley’s leading lights.

    But the tool box nestled in our phones, full of apps, does not just satisfy our craving for material comfort and security. It has also fuelled a craving to understand the world and our place in it, and offered tools to help us do that.

    Phones have made it possible for ordinary people to film and share scenes once witnessed by only a handful of disbelieved passers-by. We can all see for ourselves a white police officer dispassionately kneeling on the neck of a black man for nine minutes, while the victim cries out he cannot breathe, until he expires. And we can then judge the values and priorities of our leaders when they decide to do as little as possible to prevent such incidents occurring again.

    The internet has created a platform from which not only disillusioned former Silicon Valley execs can blow the whistle on what the Mark Zuckerbergs are up to, but so can a US army private like Chelsea Manning, by exposing war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, and so can a national security tech insider like Edward Snowden, by revealing the way we are being secretly surveilled by our own governments.

    Technological digital breakthroughs allowed someone like Julian Assange to set up a site, Wikileaks, that offered us a window on the real political world – a window through we could see our leaders behaving more like psychopaths than humanitarians. A window those same leaders are now fighting tooth and nail to close by putting him on trial.

    A small window on reality

    The Social Dilemma ignores all of this to focus on the dangers of so-called “fake news”. It dramatises a scene suggesting that only those sucked into information black holes and conspiracy sites end up taking to the street to protest – and when they do, the film hints, it will not end well for them.

    Apps allowing us to hail a taxi or navigate our way to a destination are undoubtedly useful tools. But being able to find out what our leaders are really doing – whether they are committing crimes against others or against us – is an even more useful tool. In fact, it is a vital one if we want to stop the kind of self-destructive behaviours The Social Dilemma is concerned about, not least our destruction of the planet’s life systems (an issue that, except for one interviewee’s final comment, the film leaves untouched).

    Use of social media does not mean one necessarily loses touch with the real world. For a minority, social media has deepened their understanding of reality. For those tired of having the real world mediated for them by a bunch of billionaires and traditional media corporations, the chaotic social media platforms have provided an opportunity to gain insights into a reality that was obscured before.

    The paradox, of course, is that these new social media corporations are no less billionaire-owned, no less power-hungry, no less manipulative than the old media corporations. The AI algorithms they are rapidly refining are being used – under the rubric of “fake news” – to drive out this new marketplace in whistleblowing, in citizen journalism, in dissident ideas.

    Social media corporations are quickly getting better at distinguishing the baby from the bathwater, so they can throw out the baby. After all, like their forebears, the new media platforms are in the business of business, not of waking us up to the fact that they are embedded in a corporate world that has plundered the planet for profit.

    Much of our current social polarisation and conflict is not, as The Social Dilemma suggests, between those influenced by social media’s “fake news” and those influenced by corporate media’s “real news”. It is between, on the one hand, those who have managed to find oases of critical thinking and transparency in the new media and, on the other, those trapped in the old media model or those who, unable to think critically after a lifetime of consuming corporate media, have been easily and profitably sucked into nihilistic, online conspiracies.

    Our mental black boxes

    The third chapter gets to the nub of the problem without indicating exactly what that nub is. That is because The Social Dilemma cannot properly draw from its already faulty premises the necessary conclusion to indict a system in which the Netflix corporation that funded the documentary and is televising it is so deeply embedded itself.

    For all its heart-on-its-sleeve anxieties about the “existential threat” we face as a species, The Social Dilemma is strangely quiet about what needs to change – aside from limiting our kids’ exposure to Youtube and Facebook. It is a deflating ending to the rollercoaster ride that preceded it.

    Here I want to backtrack a little. The film’s first chapter makes it sound as though social media’s rewiring of our brains to sell us advertising is something entirely new. The second chapter treats our society’s growing loss of empathy, and the rapid rise in an individualistic narcissism, as something entirely new. But very obviously neither proposition is true.

    Advertisers have been playing with our brains in sophisticated ways for at least a century. And social atomisation – individualism, selfishness and consumerism – have been a feature of western life for at least as long. These aren’t new phenomena. It’s just that these long-term, negative aspects of western society are growing exponentially, at a seemingly unstoppable rate.

    We’ve been heading towards dystopia for decades, as should be obvious to anyone who has been tracking the lack of political urgency to deal with climate change since the problem became obvious to scientists back in the 1970s.

    The multiple ways in which we are damaging the planet – destroying forests and natural habitats, pushing species towards extinction, polluting the air and water, melting the ice-caps, generating a climate crisis – have been increasingly evident since our societies turned everything into a commodity that could be bought and sold in the marketplace. We began on the slippery slope towards the problems highlighted by The Social Dilemma the moment we collectively decided that nothing was sacred, that nothing was more sacrosanct than our desire to turn a quick buck.

    It is true that social media is pushing us towards an event horizon. But then so is climate change, and so is our unsustainable global economy, premised on infinite growth on a finite planet. And, more importantly, these profound crises are all arising at the same time.

    There is a conspiracy, but not of the Pizzagate variety. It is an ideological conspiracy, of at least two centuries’ duration, by a tiny and ever more fabulously wealth elite to further enrich themselves and to maintain their power, their dominance, at all costs.

    There is a reason why, as Harvard business professor Shoshana Zuboff points out, social media corporations are the most fantastically wealthy in human history. And that reason is also why we are reaching the human “event horizon” these Silicon Valley luminaries all fear, one where our societies, our economies, the planet’s life-support systems are all on the brink of collapse together.

    The cause of that full-spectrum, systemic crisis is not named, but it has a name. Its name is the ideology that has become a black box, a mental prison, in which we have become incapable of imagining any other way of organising our lives, any other future than the one we are destined for at the moment. That ideology’s name is capitalism.

    Waking up from the matrix

    Social media and the AI behind it are one of the multiple crises we can no longer ignore as capitalism reaches the end of a trajectory it has long been on. The seeds of neoliberalism’s current, all-too-obvious destructive nature were planted long ago, when the “civilised”, industrialised west decided its mission was to conquer and subdue the natural world, when it embraced an ideology that fetishised money and turned people into objects to be exploited.

    A few of the participants in The Social Dilemma allude to this in the last moments of the final chapter. The difficulty they have in expressing the full significance of the conclusions they have drawn from two decades spent in the most predatory corporations the world has ever known could be because their minds are still black boxes, preventing them from standing outside the ideological system they, like us, were born into. Or it could be because coded language is the best one can manage if a corporate platform like Netflix is going to let a film like this one reach a mass audience.

    Tristan Harris tries to articulate the difficulty by grasping for a movie allusion: “How do you wake up from the matrix when you don’t know you’re in the matrix?” Later, he observes: “What I see is a bunch of people who are trapped by a business model, an economic incentive, shareholder pressure that makes it almost impossible to do something else.”

    Although still framed in Harris’s mind as a specific critique of social media corporations, this point is very obviously true of all corporations, and of the ideological system – capitalism – that empowers all these corporations.

    Another interviewee notes: “I don’t think these guys [the tech giants] set out to be evil, it’s just the business model.”

    He is right. But “evilness” – the psychopathic pursuit of profit above all other values – is the business model for all corporations, not just the digital ones.

    The one interviewee who manages, or is allowed, to connect the dots is Justin Rosenstein, a former engineer for Twitter and Google. He eloquently observes:

    We live in a world in which a tree is worth more, financially, dead than alive. A world in which a whale is worth more dead than alive. For so long as our economy works in that way, and corporations go unregulated, they’re going to continue to destroy trees, to kill whales, to mine the earth, and to continue to pull oil out of the ground, even though we know it is destroying the planet and we know it is going to leave a worse world for future generations.

    This is short-term thinking based on this religion of profit at all costs. As if somehow, magically, each corporation acting in its selfish interest is going to produce the best result. … What’s frightening – and what hopefully is the last straw and will make us wake up as a civilisation as to how flawed this theory is in the first place – is to see that now we are the tree, we are the whale. Our attention can be mined. We are more profitable to a corporation if we’re spending time staring at a screen, staring at an ad, than if we’re spending our time living our life in a rich way.

    Here is the problem condensed. That unnamed “flawed theory” is capitalism. The interviewees in the film arrived at their alarming conclusion – that we are on the brink of social collapse, facing an “existential threat” – because they have worked inside the bellies of the biggest corporate beasts on the planet, like Google and Facebook.

    These experiences have provided most of these Silicon Valley experts with deep, but only partial, insight. While most of us view Facebook and Youtube as little more than places to exchange news with friends or share a video, these insiders understand much more. They have seen up close the most powerful, most predatory, most all-devouring corporations in human history.

    Nonetheless, most of them have mistakenly assumed that their experiences of their own corporate sector apply only to their corporate sector. They understand the “existential threat” posed by Facebook and Google without extrapolating to the identical existential threats posed by Amazon, Exxon, Lockheed Martin, Halliburton, Goldman Sachs and thousands more giant, soulless corporations.

    The Social Dilemma offers us an opportunity to sense the ugly, psychopathic face shielding behind the mask of social media’s affability. But for those watching carefully the film offers more: a chance to grasp the pathology of the system itself that pushed these destructive social media giants into our lives.

    The post Why is the World going to Hell? Netflix’s The Social Dilemma tells only Half the Story first appeared on Dissident Voice.